Aging and Identity: A Humanities Perspective

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Sara Munson Deats, Lagretta Tallent Lenker
Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999 - Social Science - 256 pages

Viewing artistic works through the lens of both contemporary gerontological theory and postmodernist concepts, the contributing scholars examine literary treatments, cinematic depictions, and artistic portraits of aging from Shakespeare to Hemingway, from Horton Foote to Disney, from Rembrandt to Alice Neale, while also comparing the attitudes toward aging in Native American, African American, and Anglo American literature. The examples demonstrate that long before gerontologists endorsed a Janus-faced model of aging, artists were celebrating the diversity of the elderly, challenging the bio-medical equation of senescence with inevitable senility. Underlying all of this discussion is the firm conviction that cultural texts construct as well as encode the conventional perceptions of their society; that literature, the arts, and the media not only mirror society's mores but can also help to create and enforce them.

 

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Contents

The Dialectic of Aging in Shakespeares King Lear and The Tempest
21
Shakespeare Teaching Geriatrics Lear and Prospero as Case Studies in Aged Heterogeneity
31
Why? versus Why Not? Potentialities of Aging in Shaws Back to Methuselah
45
Hemingways Aging Heroes and the Concept of Phronesis
59
Bertrand Russell in His Nineties Aging and the Problem of Biography
75
THE AGING FEMALE IN LITERATURE
85
Work Contentment and Identity in Aging Women in Literature
87
Old Maids and Old Mansions The Barren Sisters of Hawthorne Dickens and Faulkner
101
Aging and Academe Caricature or Character
159
Aging and the Public Schools Visits of Charity The Young Look at the Old
167
AGING IN THE FINE AND POPULAR ARTS
179
Aging and Contemporary Art
181
The Return Home Affirmations and Transformations of Identity in Horton Footes The Trip to Bountiful
189
Animated Gerontophobia Ageism Sexism and the Disney Villainess
199
8 12 and Me The ThirtyTwoYear Difference
211
Notes
227

The Aging Artist The Sad but Instructive Case of Virginia Woolf
113
AGING IN THE COMMUNITY
125
The Sacred Ghost The Role of the Elderly in Native American Literature
127
Aging and the AfricanAmerican Community The Case of Ernest J Gaines
137
Aging and the Continental Community Good Counsel in the Writings of Two Mature European Princesses Marguerite de Navarre and Madame Palati...
147

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Page 26 - Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides, Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you From seasons such as these ? O, I have ta'en Too little care of this ! Take physic, pomp ; Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, That thou mayst shake the superflux to them, And show the heavens more just.

About the author (1999)

SARA MUNSON DEATS is Distinguished Professor and Chair of the English Department at the University of South Florida, and Co-director of the Center of Applied Humanities. She is also author of Sex, Gender, and Desire in the Plays of Christopher Marlowe (1997).

LAGRETTA TALLENT LENKER is Director of the Division of Lifelong Learning and Co-director of the Center for Aplied Humanities and the Florida Center for Writers at the University of South Florida. She was co-editor with Joseph Moxley for The Politics of Scholarship, (Greenwood, 1995).

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