Aging and Identity: A Humanities Perspective

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Sara Munson Deats, Lagretta Tallent Lenker
Praeger, 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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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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