Age Rage and Going Gently: Stories of the Senescent Subject by Oliver Davis

By Oliver Davis

This wide-ranging research seems at how the growing older method has alternately been figured in and excluded from twentieth-century French literature, philosophy and psychoanalysis. It espouses a serious interdisciplinarity and calls into query the assumptions underlying a lot learn into growing old within the social sciences, paintings within which the dangers of growing older are nearly constantly suppressed. It deals an incredible reappraisal of Simone de Beauvoir's nice yet missed past due treatise, los angeles Vieillesse, and offers the 1st monstrous dialogue of a misplaced documentary movie approximately outdated age within which Beauvoir seems to be and which she helped to put in writing, prom AU can pay DE los angeles VIEILLESSE. wondering Beauvoir's personal really reductive analyzing of Gide's paintings on outdated age, this examine analyses the best way his magazine and Ainsi soit-il scan with more than a few representational types for the senescent topic. The come across among psychoanalysis and growing older is framed through a examining of Violette Leduc's autobiographical trilogy, within which she means that psychoanalysis, to its detriment, easily can't permit growing older to suggest. This declare is established in a severe survey of modern theoretical and scientific paintings by way of psychoanalysts drawn to ageing in France, the united kingdom and the USA. finally, Herv? Guibert's lately republished photo-novel approximately his aged great-aunts, Suzanne et Louise, is tested as a piece of intergenerational empathy and is located, moreover, to be an incredible assertion of his photographic aesthetic. Navigating among the extremes of fury ('age rage') and serene reputation ('going gently'), this examine goals all through to ascertain the position which growing old performs in formal, in addition to thematic, phrases in writing the lifetime of the topic.

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In fact, the various symmetries between the two works and the respective forms of oppression they analyse go hand in hand with an elision of the older woman in La Vieillesse. The elision of older women in La Vieillesse has to be seen in its historical and literary-historical context. As I argued above, Beauvoir’s study owes much to a humanist tradition of bleak meditation on the significance of human decline. It also shares, in its second part, aspects of the mode of analysis typical of this tradition: in 46 Beauvoir, La Vieillesse, p.

4 Beauvoir, Tout Compte fait (Paris: Gallimard, 1972), p. 183. Beauvoir’s La Vieillesse 35 Structural tensions and historical context This section gives a structural overview of La Vieillesse and argues that many of the tensions identified therein may be explained in terms of the work’s historical and discursive context. La Vieillesse bears a close resemblance to Le Deuxième Sexe in crude structural terms. Both works are divided into two parts: the ‘view from the outside’ followed by the ‘view from the inside’.

Introduction 31 While acknowledging that this approach may have a certain pragmatic value, I argue that such gerontological preconceptions amount to little more than a cheery attempt to suppress the negative. Gerontologists seldom engage with philosophical and literary material but, when they do, their approach is invariably reductive. I endeavour to show that the writing of age, if read with due care, affords a unique insight into the inherent ambiguity of the human lifespan, which may be seen in terms both of growth and decline, and into the extremes of ambivalence which characterize human responses to the ageing process.

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