Aging and Identity: A Humanities Perspective by Sara M. Deats, Lagretta Lenker

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By Sara M. Deats, Lagretta Lenker

Viewing inventive works throughout the lens of either modern gerontological conception and postmodernist innovations, the contributing students study literary remedies, cinematic depictions, and inventive pictures of getting older from Shakespeare to Hemingway, from Horton Foote to Disney, from Rembrandt to Alice Neale, whereas additionally evaluating the attitudes towards getting older in local American, African American, and Anglo American literature. The examples display that lengthy prior to gerontologists recommended a Janus-faced version of getting older, artists have been celebrating the range of the aged, hard the bio-medical equation of senescence with inevitable senility. Underlying all of this dialogue is the enterprise conviction that cultural texts build in addition to encode the traditional perceptions in their society; that literature, the humanities, and the media not just reflect society's mores yet may also support to create and implement them.

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Extra resources for Aging and Identity: A Humanities Perspective

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My old brain is troubled. Be not disturbed with my infirmity. 158-160) I am a very foolish fond old man, Fourscore and upward, not an hour more nor less; And, to deal plainly, I fear I am not in my perfect mind. 61-64) During this century, a number of critical studies of aging in Shakespeare have been undertaken. The great majority of these predate 1980; most are from the 1940s. The older pieces in particular conjecture about Shakespeare's outlook on aging and how those attitudes are manifest in various characters in the plays (Draper 1946; Miles 1940; Cox 1942; Chew 1948; Sims 1943).

Moreover, most of these authors pursue the task of reading Shakespeare's plays biographically: they try to discern (invent) what Shakespeare himself felt about the aging process. More recent scholarship has applied current thinking—both in the field of literary theory and of gerontology—to the treatment of aging in Shakespeare. For example, Carolyn Asp (1986) takes a Freudian approach to King Lear; Laurel Porter (1984) reads that same play as essentially a crisis of 34 THE AGING MALE IN LITERATURE retirement; and Herbert S.

For the remainder of the play, Prospero continues to be self-conscious about his age and approaching death. If nothing else, this awareness gives his retirement planning a poignant sense of urgency. Yet at the same time Prospero's memory impairment and slowed thinking are not sufficient to interfere with daily living. Thus, as in our GET Clinic case study of the eighty-year-old man living near his daughter, Prospero enters into his retirement socially and psychologically fit, physically active and healthy, and functionally independent.

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