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Aging, Duration, and the English Novel: Growing Old from Dickens to Woolf

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jacob Jewusiak


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Narrating Aging theorizes duration and the conventions of realism through an analysis of representations of old age and aging, especially through the way novelists plot the development of characters over time. Instead of conceptualizing old age as a state or a stage, this book analyzes the entanglement of narrative duration with biological and cultural accounts of the human lifespan, privileging temporal continuity over the sedimentation of life into categories such as youth, adulthood, and old age. This critical reorientation demonstrates the potential for age studies to address what Catherine Gallagher and Caroline Levine identify as the most undertheorized aspect of the novel form: its duration. The Victorian novel, I argue, constructs a modern sense of duration by grafting the biological process of aging onto the era’s most elongated form, which shapes and is shaped by the imagination of how a body endures through time. Critical attention to the temporal form of the novel reveals a series of connected political problems for aging and the elderly, which this book analyzes through aspects of nineteenth-century literature and culture such as aging masculinity, “redundant” women, queer sexuality, and dystopia.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jewusiak J

Series Editor(s): Gillian Beer

Publication type: Authored Book

Publication status: Published

Series Title: Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

Year: 2019

Online publication date: 01/11/2019

Acceptance date: 15/09/2018

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781108615501