Aging, Duration, and the English Novel

Growing Old from Dickens to Woolf

Aging, Duration, and the English Novel

The rapid onset of dementia after an illness, the development of gray hair after a traumatic loss, the sudden appearance of a wrinkle in the brow of a spurned lover. Les mer
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Aging, Duration, and the English Novel

The rapid onset of dementia after an illness, the development of gray hair after a traumatic loss, the sudden appearance of a wrinkle in the brow of a spurned lover. The realist novel uses these conventions to accelerate the process of aging into a descriptive moment, writing the passage of years on the body all at once. Aging, Duration, and the English Novel argues that the formal disappearance of aging from the novel parallels the ideological pressure to identify as being young by repressing the process of growing old. The construction of aging as a shameful event that should be hidden - to improve one's chances on the job market or secure a successful marriage - corresponds to the rise of the long novel, which draws upon the temporality of the body to map progress and decline onto the plots of nineteenth-century British modernity.

1. Aging theory; 2. No plots for old men; 3. Life after the marriage plot; 4. A wrinkle in time; 5. The technology age; 6. Gray modernism.

Argues that novelists graft aging onto narrative duration and reveals the politics of senescence in nineteenth and early-twentieth century plots.

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