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Age rage and going gently : stories of the senescent subject by Oliver Davis

By Oliver Davis

This wide-ranging research appears to be like at how the getting older procedure has alternately been figured in and excluded from twentieth-century French literature, philosophy and psychoanalysis. It espouses a severe interdisciplinarity and calls into query the assumptions underlying a lot examine into growing older within the social sciences, paintings during which the dangers of ageing are nearly consistently suppressed. It bargains a big reappraisal of Simone de Beauvoir's nice yet ignored overdue treatise, los angeles Vieillesse, and offers the 1st big dialogue of a misplaced documentary movie approximately outdated age during which Beauvoir seems and which she helped to jot down, prom AU can pay DE los angeles VIEILLESSE. wondering Beauvoir's personal really reductive examining of Gide's paintings on outdated age, this research analyses the best way his magazine and Ainsi soit-il scan with a variety of representational versions for the senescent topic. The stumble upon among psychoanalysis and aging is framed through a interpreting of Violette Leduc's autobiographical trilogy, during which she means that psychoanalysis, to its detriment, easily can't enable ageing to indicate. This declare is verified in a serious survey of modern theoretical and medical paintings through psychoanalysts attracted to growing older in France, the united kingdom and the U.S.. finally, Hervé 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 an enormous assertion of his photographic aesthetic. Navigating among the extremes of fury ('age rage') and serene attractiveness ('going gently'), this learn goals all through to ascertain the function which growing old performs in formal, in addition to thematic, phrases in writing the lifetime of the topic

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The psychosomatic character of old age finds exemplary expression in those compensatory mechanisms 27 Beauvoir, La Vieillesse, p. 302. I am not arguing here that Beauvoir’s view of old age as necessarily contradictory is right. Indeed, that old age need not be experienced as a scandal and a contradiction is what many of the writings of Gide and Jouhandeau on the subject, to which Beauvoir herself alludes, suggest. Rather than engaging seriously with their work, however, Beauvoir tends either to oversimplify it (in Gide’s case, as I shall argue in Chapter Two, below) or to ridicule it as an example of bourgeois self-delusion.

41 Central to Gorz’s argument in ‘Le Vieillissement’ is that ageing entails alienation. His essay combines narrative and analysis, much of the narrative being written in the third person, even when it concerns himself; this is a device which reflects the alienation he suggests is characteristic of old age. ] il n’y avait d’âge nulle part en lui, pas plus qu’il n’y avait en lui d’évidence qu’un jour il dût mourir. 43 Moreover, Gorz’s essay is one of very few works on old age which, like La Vieillesse, combines a political point about the way in which capitalist societies dispose of members of their workforce once they have been ‘used up’ with a philosophical analysis of the universal human possibility of getting older and being old.

Re)figuring the Body in French Studies, ed. by Prest & Thompson (Oxford: Lang, 2000), pp. 79-89, p. 80. Yet old age, for Beauvoir, is precisely when the Cartesian delusion of the self’s independence from the failing body is most intense. There is no evidence in La Vieillesse for Beauvoir’s espousal of the sort of reading of selfknowledge off the body which Song describes. Song argues later that ‘Beauvoir reverses the negation which Cartesian rationalism attempts to deal to the status of the body by making the body, with its real and/or potential infirmities, the defining influence in psychic experience’ (p.

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