By Sara M. Deats, Lagretta Lenker
Viewing inventive works throughout the lens of either modern gerontological concept and postmodernist strategies, the contributing students learn literary remedies, cinematic depictions, and inventive graphics of getting older from Shakespeare to Hemingway, from Horton Foote to Disney, from Rembrandt to Alice Neale, whereas additionally evaluating the attitudes towards getting older in local American, African American, and Anglo American literature. The examples reveal that lengthy sooner than gerontologists counseled a Janus-faced version of getting older, artists have been celebrating the range of the aged, difficult the bio-medical equation of senescence with inevitable senility. Underlying all of this dialogue is the enterprise conviction that cultural texts build in addition to encode the traditional perceptions in their society; that literature, the humanities, and the media not just reflect society's mores yet may also aid to create and implement them.
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Extra resources for Aging and Identity: A Humanities Perspective
More recent scholarship has applied current thinking—both in the field of literary theory and of gerontology—to the treatment of aging in Shakespeare. For example, Carolyn Asp (1986) takes a Freudian approach to King Lear; Laurel Porter (1984) reads that same play as essentially a crisis of 34 THE AGING MALE IN LITERATURE retirement; and Herbert S. Donow (1992) examines both age-appropriate behavior and ageism in Shakespeare, particularly in the case of Falstaff, while also exploring generational continuity, exploitative elders, and gerontophobia in Lear (Donow 1994).
157-161) Nevertheless, although Lear's decision to divide his kingdom and abdicate from the throne would doubtlessly have been viewed as egregiously irrespon- 26 T H E AGING MALE IN LITERATURE sible by a Jacobean audience, I agree with Laurel Porter (1984, 60) that the play focuses not so much on the permissibility of Lear's retirement as on his attitude toward it, an issue also relevant to contemporary audiences. Like so many individuals today, Lear wishes to retire and yet not retire. 136), including an old-boy retinue of one hundred knights.
According to Gutmann, one primary aspect of this age-related integration, what he calls "sex-role crossover," occurs in the years after parenthood is over. Gutmann's transcultural studies provide evidence that later in life —in many different societies—men develop their passive, nurturing, M T H E AGING MALE IN LITERATURE contemplative qualities (attributes traditionally gendered "feminine"), whereas women discover their assertive, commanding, or adventurous traits (attributes traditionally gendered "masculine").