By Oliver Davis
This wide-ranging research appears to be like at how the getting old approach 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 learn into aging within the social sciences, paintings during which the disadvantages of ageing are nearly at all times suppressed. It bargains an important reappraisal of Simone de Beauvoir's nice yet ignored past due treatise, l. a. Vieillesse, and provides the 1st enormous dialogue of a misplaced documentary movie approximately previous age within which Beauvoir looks and which she helped to jot down, prom AU will pay DE los angeles VIEILLESSE. wondering Beauvoir's personal relatively reductive analyzing of Gide's paintings on previous age, this examine analyses the way his magazine and Ainsi soit-il test with a number representational versions for the senescent topic. The stumble upon among psychoanalysis and getting old is framed through a studying of Violette Leduc's autobiographical trilogy, during which she means that psychoanalysis, to its detriment, easily can't enable getting older to indicate. This declare is established in a severe survey of modern theoretical and medical paintings via psychoanalysts attracted to growing old in France, the united kingdom and the USA. 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 a big assertion of his photographic aesthetic. Navigating among the extremes of fury ('age rage') and serene popularity ('going gently'), this learn goals all through to ascertain the position which ageing performs in formal, in addition to thematic, phrases in writing the lifetime of the topic
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Additional resources for Age rage and going gently : stories of the senescent subject in twentieth-century French writing
One recent exception to this tendency towards neglect is Penelope Deutscher’s chapter in The Cambridge Companion to Simone de Beauvoir, ed. by Claudia Card (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), ch. 14, ‘Beauvoir’s Old Age’, pp. 286-304. Deutscher reads La Vieillesse as Beauvoir’s response to certain assumptions in early Sartrean ontology of the subject: ‘Sartre’s subject is embodied, sometimes sick and fatigued, but patently a young adult body. Beauvoir’s response is that an excessive weighting of ontological freedom generalizes and neutralizes those lived and embodied differences that should also hold our theoretical attention’ (Deutscher, p.
293. , p. 336. 59 Moi, Simone de Beauvoir: An Intellectual Biography, p. 160. 56 54 Age Rage and Going Gently however, that it is here that La Vieillesse proves to be far more than a second-hand Second Sex, for it may be used as a corrective to this ‘overvaluation of masculinity’, with its exposure of the vanity of the patriarchal male self-image. Thus old age shakes men out of their quiet self-satisfaction, their presumed social and corporeal superiority, shattering the supposedly seamless unity of the male lifespan.
Yet even taking this historical context into account, I would suggest that there is still something surprising about the elision of the older woman in La Vieillesse which demands further investigation. 50 I want to highlight two points in her earlier account and compare them with her discussion in La Vieillesse. 51 This she contrasts with the way in which the patriarchal imaginary envisages male ageing – as a process of smooth 49 Minois, Histoire de la vieillesse, p. 122. See also Stuart-Hamilton, The Psychology of Ageing: An Introduction (London: Kingsley, 3 rd Edition 2000), p.
Age rage and going gently : stories of the senescent subject in twentieth-century French writing by Oliver Davis