By Oliver Davis
This wide-ranging examine appears to be like at how the ageing strategy 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 study into getting older within the social sciences, paintings within which the risks of growing older are virtually at all times suppressed. It deals a huge reappraisal of Simone de Beauvoir's nice yet missed overdue treatise, los angeles Vieillesse, and offers the 1st mammoth dialogue of a misplaced documentary movie approximately previous age during which Beauvoir looks and which she helped to write down, prom AU can pay DE l. a. VIEILLESSE. wondering Beauvoir's personal fairly reductive analyzing of Gide's paintings on previous age, this learn analyses the best way his magazine and Ainsi soit-il test with a variety of representational versions for the senescent topic. The come upon among psychoanalysis and growing old is framed by means of 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 verified in a serious survey of modern theoretical and scientific paintings by means of psychoanalysts drawn to getting old in France, the united kingdom and the united states. 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 immense assertion of his photographic aesthetic. Navigating among the extremes of fury ('age rage') and serene popularity ('going gently'), this learn goals all through to check the position which growing old performs in formal, in addition to thematic, phrases in writing the lifetime of the topic
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Extra resources for Age rage and going gently : stories of the senescent subject in twentieth-century French writing
26 These passages restage, textually, a clash between the elderly subject’s ageless self-perception and the fact of old age, a confrontation which Beauvoir suggests is an everyday occurrence in the lives of older people, a feature of their interactions with others: indeed his being old is revealed to the subject principally in the reactions of others. In this interplay lies ‘la complexe vérité de la vieillesse’: Elle est un rapport dialectique entre mon être pour autrui, tel qu’il se définit objectivement, et la conscience que je prends de moi-même à travers lui.
Moreover, by contrast with The Second Sex and most of Beauvoir’s mature work, it is also no longer in print in either its British or American versions. 4 It will become clear that the relation between the two works is rather more complicated than their author suggests here, yet I shall take seriously Beauvoir’s sense that both are substantially interrelated. 2 Deirdre Bair, Simone de Beauvoir: A Biography (London: Vintage, 1990), p. 674, n. 24. 3 Bair notes that ‘when La Vieillesse (Old Age) was published in France in January 1970, reviewers hailed it with remarkable unanimity of praise’.
299300, emphasis added). Rather than offering a unified analysis, as promised, she notes that in this section she will proceed ‘successivement’ through each of ‘les facteurs qui définissent la condition de vieillard’. The portion I have emphasised suggests that this deferral not only postpones the task of an integrated analysis until later in the text, but actually seeks wholly to transfer this obligation from the text and its author to the reader. 34 Beauvoir, La Vieillesse, p. 302. 46 Age Rage and Going Gently which the subject’s Cartesian pretensions are at their most extreme (“I am not this withered shell”) and the period in which, typically, this would-be disembodied ‘I’ is most strikingly affected by the vicissitudes of the body, the time at which the fact that subjectivity is embodied can least be ignored.