From old woman to older women : contemporary culture and women's narratives /
Sally Chivers.
Columbus : Ohio State University Press, c2003.
xlvii, 119 p.
0814209351 (hardcover : alk. paper)
More Details
Columbus : Ohio State University Press, c2003.
0814209351 (hardcover : alk. paper)
contents note
Old age, literature, and potential -- Situating old women : fields of inquiry -- The mirror has two faces : Simone de Beauvoir's and Margaret Laurence's ambivalent representations -- Generation gaps and the potential of grandmotherhood -- Here, every minute is ninety seconds : fictional perspectives on nursing home care -- Living life seriatim : friendship and interdependence in late-life fiction and semifiction.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Sally Chivers is assistant professor of Canadian studies and English at Trent University.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-02-01:
Chivers (Trent Univ.) shows her readers the ways in which Western culture refuses to integrate the aging process into its zeitgeist and thus creates a collective memory fade, as though people after a certain age were no longer worth talking about. She focuses particularly on how media, culture, and literature choose to ignore and disempower aging women. In terms of the physical, aging women no longer have acceptable bodies. The image of an older naked body is considered repelling. She discusses May Sarton's As We Are Now (1973), a fictional memoir of an aging intellectual woman in a nursing home. The woman's mind begins to deteriorate, and finally, in an act of despair, she burns down the nursing home. Chivers discusses the economic disadvantages of aging, and how Western society encourages discarding the wisdom of the old in favor of the ideas of the young, and she argues that aging could be constructed to give the elderly position, respect, and voice. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All collections; all levels. K. Gale Loyola Marymount University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2004
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Unpaid Annotation
Sally Chivers provides a fascinating look at and challenge to how North American popular culture has portrayed old age as a time of disease, decline, and death. Within contemporary Canadian literary and film production, a tradition of articulate central elderly female characters challenges what the aging body has come to signify in a broader cultural context. Rather than seek positive images of aging, which can do their own prescriptive damage, the author focuses on constructive, depictions that provide a basis on which to create new stories and readings of growing old. This type of humanities approach to the study of aging promises neither to fixate on nor avoid consideration of the role of the body in the much broader process of getting olden The progression implied in the title from the solitary symbol of The Old Woman toward a community of older women, indicates not a move toward euphemism, but rather an increasing and necessary awareness of the social and cultural dimensions of aging.
Table of Contents
Preface: Old Age, Literature, and Potentialp. ix
Introduction: Situating Old Women: Fields of Inquiryp. xvii
The Mirror Has Two Faces: Simone de Beauvoir's and Margaret Laurence's Ambivalent Representationsp. 1
Generation Gaps and the Potential of Grandmotherhoodp. 33
"Here, Every Minute Is Ninety Seconds": Fictional Perspectives on Nursing Home Carep. 57
"Living Life Seriatim": Friendship and Interdependence in Late-Life Fiction and Semifictionp. 79
Conclusionp. 97
Notesp. 101
Works Citedp. 107
Indexp. 115
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