By Oliver Davis
This wide-ranging research seems at how the getting older technique has alternately been figured in and excluded from twentieth-century French literature, philosophy and psychoanalysis. It espouses a serious interdisciplinarity and calls into query the assumptions underlying a lot study into growing old within the social sciences, paintings within which the disadvantages of ageing are nearly consistently suppressed. It bargains an immense reappraisal of Simone de Beauvoir's nice yet overlooked overdue treatise, l. a. Vieillesse, and offers the 1st huge 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 scan with a number representational types for the senescent topic. The stumble upon among psychoanalysis and getting older is framed by means of a analyzing of Violette Leduc's autobiographical trilogy, during which she means that psychoanalysis, to its detriment, easily can't enable getting older to suggest. This declare is confirmed in a severe survey of contemporary theoretical and scientific paintings via psychoanalysts attracted to growing old in France, the united kingdom and the USA. finally, Herv? 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, moreover, to be a big assertion of his photographic aesthetic. Navigating among the extremes of fury ('age rage') and serene recognition ('going gently'), this learn goals all through to envision the function which growing older performs in formal, in addition to thematic, phrases in writing the lifetime of the topic.
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Extra info for Age Rage and Going Gently: Stories of the Senescent Subject in Twentieth-Century French Writing (Faux Titre 283)
First, however, I shall introduce the work in question, before moving on to examine its structural tensions and historical context, its central philosophical thesis, its treatment of gender and, finally, its performative dimension. My discussion of this text will serve to introduce themes pursued in later chapters. First published in France in 1970, La Vieillesse was translated into English by Patrick O’Brian and published in Britain and the United States two years later. In Britain the translated work was entitled, quite correctly, Old Age.
This ‘plus loin’ is presumably meant to be the second part of the essay and, in particular, Chapter Five, subtitled ‘Expérience vécue du corps’32, which must 29 Beauvoir, La Vieillesse, p. 38. , p. 38. , p. 39. , pp. 301-82. 33 The discussion in Beauvoir’s Chapter Five, however, hardly fulfils the expectations raised in the Preamble. This is not an integrated analysis which confirms and mirrors the supposedly special psychosomatic character of old age, but rather – at the opposite extreme – one which describes and restages the clash between the subject’s inner ‘évidence intime’ of his permanence and the outer ‘certitude objective de [sa] métamorphose’, the traces of which are written on the body for others to read.
9 This tradition has tended to highlight the sense in which old age reduces the human subject, erasing both achievements and differences. 10 Beauvoir’s study owes much to this humanist tradition of bleak meditation on the significance of human decline. It also shares, in its second part, aspects of the mode of analysis typical 9 According to Georges Minois, the first ever surviving example of writing about old age, by a nameless scribe in Ancient Egypt, was bleakly meditative. See Georges Minois, Histoire de la vieillesse en Occident de l’Antiquité à la Renaissance (Paris: Fayard, 1987), p.
Age Rage and Going Gently: Stories of the Senescent Subject in Twentieth-Century French Writing (Faux Titre 283) by Oliver Davis