The Art of Growing Older: Writers on Living and Aging

Overview

Wayne Booth has selected, and has been inspired by, the works by some of our greatest writers on the art of growing older. In this widely praised anthology he shows that the very making of art is in itself a victory over time.

 

Culled chiefly from great literary works, this unusual compendium of prose and poetry . . . highlights the physical and emotional aspects of aging. . . . The thoughtful commentary with which Booth connects the selections reminds readers that ...

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Overview

Wayne Booth has selected, and has been inspired by, the works by some of our greatest writers on the art of growing older. In this widely praised anthology he shows that the very making of art is in itself a victory over time.

 

Culled chiefly from great literary works, this unusual compendium of prose and poetry . . . highlights the physical and emotional aspects of aging. . . . The thoughtful commentary with which Booth connects the selections reminds readers that physical decay and fear of death are conditions common to us all. . . . Provocative."—Publishers Weekly

 

"His blending of literature, humor, and crotchetiness will capture the interest of readers of all ages."—Booklist

"Funny . . . profound. . . . It is hard to resist the closing chapters, which celebrate the freedom from constraint and ambition, the permission to be crotchety, the joy of memory and perspective that come with age."—William March, Tampa Tribune

 

"Booth puts a new spin on the worries many of us have about what's catching up with us. . . . Booth's book . . . [is] for both the younger readers and those of us who are nervously counting birthdays."—Sacramento Bee

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Culled chiefly from great literary works, this unusual compendium of prose and poetry excerpts highlights the physical and emotional aspects of aging. Although Booth ( The Rhetoric of Fiction ), age 71, includes such cheery banal verse as ``I Haven't Lost My Marbles Yet'' (Minnie Hodapp), he has tailored this collection to encompass the unpleasant truths about aging. William Butler Yeats's ``Sailing to Byzantium'' and excerpts from Simone de Beauvoir's The Coming of Age offer realistic assessments of the perils and possible consolations of aging. The thoughtful commentary with which Booth connects the selections reminds readers that physical decay and fear of death are conditions common to us all. This provocative collection braces rather than comforts. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226065496
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1996
  • Series: Women in Culture and Society Ser.
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Wayne C. Booth (1921–2005) was the George Pullman Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. His many books include The Rhetoric of Fiction, A Rhetoric of Irony, The Power and Limits of Pluralism, The Vocation of a Teacher, and For the Love of It, all published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Feeling Older From Essays
Montaigne
"Death be not proud"
John Donne
"Timor mortis conturbat me"
Anonymous From A Margin of Hope
Irving Howe From "The Tower"
W. B. Yeats From "Sailing to Byzantium"
W. B. Yeats
"Lines Written on the Eve of a Birthday"
Kelly Cherry From Gulliver's Travels
Jonathan Swift From Macbeth
William Shakespeare From As You Like It
William Shakespeare From "Sonnet on Turning Twenty-three"
John Milton From "On Being Twenty-six"
Philip Larkin From "On This Day I Complete My Thirty-sixth Year"
George Gordon, Lord Byron From On Old Age
Cicero From "Rabbi Ben Ezra"
Robert Browning Letter to Malcolm Cowley Kenneth Burke From The View from 80
Malcolm Cowley
"This is what human beauty comes to"
Francois Villon From Satire X
Juvenal From Epistolae morales
Seneca From The Canterbury Tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
"The problem, unstated till now, is how"
Adrienne Rich
"It's true, these last few years I've lived"
Adrienne Rich
"One Art"
Elizabeth Bishop From Self-Consciousness: A Memoir
John Updike From "The Vanity of Human Wishes"
Samuel Johnson
"Dear Charles, My Muse, asleep or dead"
Philip Larkin From "St. Mark's Rest"
John Ruskin
"Yes; I write verses now and then"
Walter Savage Landor From "Used: The Mind-Body Problem"
Kelly Cherry
"As I Sit Writing Here"
Walt Whitman
"Queries to My Seventieth Year"
Walt Whitman Letter to Malcolm Cowley Kenneth Burke
"It Is Time"
Laurence Lerner
"Extempore Effusion Upon the Death of James Hogg"
William Wordsworth From Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
George Gordon, Lord Byron
"The Old Familiar Faces"
Charles Lamb Letter to Malcolm Cowley Kenneth Burke From "A Toccata of Galuppi's"
Robert Browning From "Faithful Wilson"
Thomas Hardy
"The Face in the Mirror"
Robert Graves
"I Look into My Glass"
Thomas Hardy
"Growing Old"
Matthew Arnold
19:32-39: 2 Samuel From "Girl from Samos"
Menander
"O sovereign my Lord! Oldness has come"
Ptah Hotep
"For when thou art angry all our days are gone": From The Book of Common Prayer
From The Diary of Alice James Alice James
"He who has lived sixty years": Egyptian Papyrus Letter to W. Morton Fullerton Henry James
"My Picture Left in Scotland"
Ben Jonson From Paradise Lost
John Milton
"Song"
Christina Rossetti
"Old Age"
Buland Al-Haydari
"What, then, is life if love the golden is gone?"
Mimnermus Chorus, from Herakles
Euripides From Oedipus at Colonus
Sophocles
"Jogger"
Daniel Hoffman

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