Catalogue

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The Victorians and old age [electronic resource] /
Karen Chase.
imprint
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2009.
description
304 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
9780199564361
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2009.
isbn
9780199564361
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
general note
Includes index.
abstract
This text studies the social and literary conditions which helped construct the experience of old age in the Victorian period.
catalogue key
7063039
 
Electronic reproduction. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2009. (Oxford Scholarship Online). Mode of access: World Wide Web. System requirements: Internet Explorer 6.0 (or higher) or Firefox 2.0 (or higher). Available as searchable text in HTML format. Access restricted to subscribing institutions.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Karen Chase is Professor of English at the University of Virginia.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-03-01:
The Victorian era has always been the subject of deep and rewarding cultural studies. Here is a worthy new one: it examines the Victorian "construction" of old age as a state of mind; a subject of fiction, journalism, and art; and a demographic fact with economic and political dimensions. Chase (Univ. of Virginia) interweaves theory and data, history, and psychology throughout. Pointing out that old age was simultaneously a public problem and a private preoccupation, she presents insightful illustrations of the diverse and changing meanings of old age as depicted by Dickens, Trollope, Mrs. Gaskell, Morris, Wilde, and others. Almshouses and workhouses, charity versus legislation, dependency and institutionalization, and the pension movement are themes relating to the government's gradual assumption of responsibility for managing the social consequences of an aging population. Chase ingeniously deploys gravestones, obituaries, epitaphs, diaries, and letters to reveal not only the deepest personal feelings about the final stage of life but also the prevailing social attitudes. This is cultural analysis of a high order, far-ranging and scrupulous, humane and imaginative. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. A. R. Vogeler emeritus, California State University, Fullerton
Reviews
Review Quotes
Chase is persistently engaging.
Chase's book adds substantially to emerging scholarship in age studies by considering old age in the rich context of Victorian literature and culture
"Chase's important text will strongly engage not only those interested in the textual and visual portrayals and conceptions of aging in the Victorian era, but also those who study the era's treatment of other disadvantaged sectors of the population, including the poor and mentally ill...In this book she has further enriched the study of aging by showing how the Victorians conceived and represented--in pictures and words--what it meant to be old."-- New Books on Literature 19
"Chase's important text will strongly engage not only those interested in the textual and visual portrayals and conceptions of aging in the Victorian era, but also those who study the era's treatment of other disadvantaged sectors of the population, including the poor and mentally ill...In this book she has further enriched the study of aging by showing how the Victorians conceived and represented--in pictures and words--what it meant to be old."-- New Books on Literature 19 "Chase ingeniously deploys gravestones, obituaries, epitaphs, diaries, and letters to reveal not only the deepest personal feelings about the final stage of life but also the prevailing social attitudes. This is cultural analysis of a high order, far-ranging and scrupulous, humane and imaginative. Highly recommended." -- Choice
"Chase's important text will strongly engage not only those interested in the textual and visual portrayals and conceptions of aging in the Victorian era, but also those who study the era's treatment of other disadvantaged sectors of the population, including the poor and mentally ill...In this book she has further enriched the study of aging by showing how the Victorians conceived and represented--in pictures and words--what it meant to be old."--New Books on Literature 19 "Chase ingeniously deploys gravestones, obituaries, epitaphs, diaries, and letters to reveal not only the deepest personal feelings about the final stage of life but also the prevailing social attitudes. This is cultural analysis of a high order, far-ranging and scrupulous, humane and imaginative. Highly recommended." --Choice
she presents insightful illustrations... This is cultural analysis of a high order, far-ranging and scrupulous, humane and imaginative
The analyses of these representations of old age are sophisticated, nuanced and stimulating
This book contains real insights into the literary representation of older people in the nineteenth century.
very professional and thoughtful
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, March 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This text studies the social and literary conditions which helped construct the experience of old age in the Victorian period.
Main Description
Karen Chase examines old age as it was constructed in Victorian social and literary cultures. Beginning with the vexed relation between elderly people whose numbers and needs taxed the state which sought to identify, classify, and provide for them, she analyzes illuminating moments innarrative form, social policy, or cultural attitudes. The book considers the centrality of institutions and of the generational divide; it traces the power and powerlessness of age through a range of characters and individuals as distinct from one another as Dickens's inebriated nurse, Sairey Gamp,to the sober Queen Victoria; and it studies specific narrative forms for expressing heightened emotions attached to aging and the complexities of representing age in pictorial and statistical 'portraits'. Chapters are organized around major literary works set alongside episodes and artefacts,diaries and memoirs, images and inscriptions, that produced (and now illuminate) the construction of old age through Victoria's long reign. The Victorians and Old Age shows that if old age became for the Victorians such a conspicuous public topic and problem, it also became an intensely private preoccupation. The social formation of old age created terms, images, and narratives that lone individuals used to fashion the stories of theirlives. The book is intent to respect the specificity of aging: not only the wide diversities of circumstance (rich and poor, urban and rural, watched and forgotten, powerful and dispossessed) but also the distinct acts of representation by novelists, painters, journalists, sociologists, anddiary-keepers.
Main Description
Widespread acceptance of old age as a recognizable social category, acknowledgment that old age is attended by certain physiological manifestations and represents a distinct psychological phase or stage were all products of the Victorian period. In this book Karen Chase studies the social and literary conditions which helped construct the experience of old age in the nineteenth century. In doing so she gives measure and shape to the experience of aging well intothe modern period. Taking exemplary texts and situating them within relevant cultural episodes, The Victorians and Old Age recreates the drama of the aged struggling for rights and recognition in a world that would have preferred to grant invisibility.
Table of Contents
Introduction
Faces and Spaces: Locating Age in the Dickens World
Almshouse to Empire; What is 'Enough' for Old Age
Creases and Crevices, Heights and Depths: Narrative Extremities and Age
Victoria to Victorian: The Queen and Her Age
Artistic Investigations and the Elderly Subject
The Politics of Personality of Age at the Fin de Siecle
Gravestones, Obituaries, Epitaphs Coda
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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