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In Full Flower: Aging Women, Power, and Sexuality

In Full Flower: Aging Women, Power, and Sexuality

by Lois W. Banner

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is a masterwork of scholarship and a milestone in our understanding of how Western civilization has demeaned the older woman. Banner ( American Beauty ) shows how, from antiquity on, stereotypes have restricted the power that knowledge and experience should naturally confer on older women. Like an archeologist, the author sifts through myth, literature and history--her Rosetta stone, the film Sunset Boulevard. About a faded movie star portrayed by silent-screen star Gloria Swanson, the movie contains manifest and latent cultural messages, lies and truth about older women. With this as model Banner scrutinizes text and subtext of the Odyssey ; the legends of Helen of Troy, Adonis and Sappho; and the story of the Wife of Bath. She also examines the life and work of Margaret Fuller and Colette. Other themes covered are menopause, older women and young men duos; Mother Goose and the Old Maid card game get a close look too. Banner turns to African American women for positive middle-aged and elder role models in a study that helps set the historical record straight. Photos not seen by PW. (May)

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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1st ed

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