Power And Poverty

Overview

Despite calls since the 1970s for more research into the history of old age, there is still a relative dearth of historical studies on the elderly, especially in the pre-industrial past. This volume remedies much of that deficiency with essays exploring the lives of old men and old women, and the images of old age and aging, in early modern Europe and America. Collectively, the chapters demonstrate there was a strong association of advanced age with authority in the lived experience of older men and women. This ...

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Overview

Despite calls since the 1970s for more research into the history of old age, there is still a relative dearth of historical studies on the elderly, especially in the pre-industrial past. This volume remedies much of that deficiency with essays exploring the lives of old men and old women, and the images of old age and aging, in early modern Europe and America. Collectively, the chapters demonstrate there was a strong association of advanced age with authority in the lived experience of older men and women. This book recognizes poverty and physical limitations were a very real threat, but challenges the tendency of existing literature on historical gerontology to associate old age with dependence and disability. Instead, what emerges from this volume is the success of older people in the past in imbuing their old age with dignity, despite the often vicious nature of old age in both popular and elite literature.

Essays are brought together on old age in early modern England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and America, enabling comparisons that cross geographical boundaries. Historians of old age, the family, demography, social history and cultural history will value this volume, as will sociologists and anthropologists interested in gerontology.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

SUSANNAH R. OTTAWAY is Assistant Professor in the History Department at Carleton College.

L. A. BOTELHO is Associate Professor in the History Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

KATHARINE KITTREDGE is Associate Professor in the English Department at Ithaca College.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Authority, Autonomy, and Responsibility Among the Aged in the Pre-Industrial Past 1
Pt. I Crafting a Good Old Age 13
1 Aging and Memory in a Bureaucratizing World: A French Historical Experience 15
2 Poverty, Patriarchy, and Old Age: The Households of American Revolutionary War Veterans, 1820-1830 31
3 Social Lives of Elderly Women in Eighteenth-Century Toulouse 49
4 Women and Aging in Transatlantic Perspective 67
Pt. II Interacting with Institutions to Thrive or Survive in Old Age 87
5 Old People and the Flow of Resources Between Generations in Papal Rome, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries 89
6 The Experience of Old Age in the Narratives of the Rural Poor in Early Modern Germany 107
7 "Labor and Sorrow": The Living Conditions of the Elderly Residents of Bocking, Essex, 1793-1807 125
Pt. III Image and Reality: Social Experience Versus Cultural Representations of Old Age 143
8 Old Age in Early Modern Castilian Villages 145
9 Stereotypes and Statistics: Old Women and Accusations of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe 167
10 Naturalizing Myths of Aging: A Cautionary Tale 187
Pt. IV Representations of Old Age and Aging 207
11 Aging Heroes, Buffoones, and Statesmen in Shakespeare's Plays 209
12 Images of Old Age in Early Modern Cheap Print: Women, Witches, and the Poisonous Female Body 225
13 "The Ag'd Dame to Venery Inclid'd": Images of Sexual Older Women in Eighteenth-Century Britain 247
Appendix: Citations from the Pepys Ballad Collection, Madgalene College, Cambridge 265
Selected Bibliography 269
Index 275
About the Contributors 291
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