By Oliver Davis
This wide-ranging learn seems at how the growing old technique 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 study into getting older within the social sciences, paintings within which the disadvantages of getting older are virtually consistently suppressed. It deals an immense reappraisal of Simone de Beauvoir's nice yet overlooked past due treatise, l. a. Vieillesse, and offers the 1st vast dialogue of a misplaced documentary movie approximately previous age during which Beauvoir seems and which she helped to put in writing, prom AU will pay DE l. a. VIEILLESSE. wondering Beauvoir's personal fairly reductive examining of Gide's paintings on outdated age, this research analyses the best way his magazine and Ainsi soit-il scan with a number of representational types for the senescent topic. The come across among psychoanalysis and getting old is framed through a studying of Violette Leduc's autobiographical trilogy, within which she means that psychoanalysis, to its detriment, easily can't enable growing older to suggest. This declare is demonstrated in a severe survey of contemporary theoretical and medical paintings through psychoanalysts attracted to getting older 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, furthermore, to be a big assertion of his photographic aesthetic. Navigating among the extremes of fury ('age rage') and serene recognition ('going gently'), this learn goals all through to ascertain the position which getting older performs in formal, in addition to thematic, phrases in writing the lifetime of the topic.
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Additional info for Age Rage and Going Gently: Stories of the Senescent Subject in Twentieth-Century French Writing (Faux Titre 283)
In this interplay lies ‘la complexe vérité de la vieillesse’: Elle est un rapport dialectique entre mon être pour autrui, tel qu’il se définit objectivement, et la conscience que je prends de moi-même à travers lui. En moi, c’est l’autre qui est âgé, c’est-à-dire celui que je suis pour les autres: et cet autre, c’est moi. ] Notre expérience personnelle ne nous indique pas le nombre de nos années. Aucune impression cénesthésique ne 23 Beauvoir, La Vieillesse, p. 309. , p. 11. , p. 321. , p. 47. 27 Yet although we may agree that ‘notre expérience personnelle ne nous indique pas le nombre de nos années’, in the strict sense that it fails to present us with a figure for the number of years elapsed, is it really true to say that older people are constitutionally unable to apprehend their age without this first being revealed to them in the behaviour of others?
8 Whereas the divisions between chapters in the first part of La Vieillesse correspond neatly to divisions between academic disciplines, chapters in the second part are less clearly distinguishable by topic and indeed have vaguer titles. They cover areas such as selfimage, the perception of time and the experience of sexuality and activity in later life. The final chapter, ‘Quelques exemples de vieillesses’, is a compendium of gleanings from biographies of Great Men, mostly writers. Whereas statistical data and patient analysis characterize the written texture of the first part, the second is marked by a preponderance of literary material, mixed with anecdote, philosophical reflection and impassioned argument.
What little work has been done on the meaning of ageing in culture has hitherto been led by social scientists (sociologists, psychologists and gerontologists). Most are united in the belief that Western societies are inherently ‘ageist’ and that their work as researchers must undermine the pervasive ‘negative stereotypes’ of older people which, collectively, are thought to constitute the social evil of ageism. 57 See my ‘The Ageing Process in A la recherche du temps perdu’ (unpublished master’s thesis, University of Oxford, no.
Age Rage and Going Gently: Stories of the Senescent Subject in Twentieth-Century French Writing (Faux Titre 283) by Oliver Davis