The Aesthetics of Senescence
Aging, Population, and the Nineteenth-Century British Novel
“A brilliant contribution to the medical humanities on aging, exquisitely written and brimming with discovery. ” —Stephen Katz, author of Disciplining Old Age
Recent years have seen the rise of alarming headlines warning of an imminent “grey tsunami” of aging retirees. How has old age come to possess such far-reaching ideological and ethical effects? The Aesthetics of Senescence is a field-shifting analysis of aging that begins with and extends beyond nineteenth-century British literature. Charting the traffic between fictional and medical discourses around old age, Andrea Charise shows how authors engaged with an unprecedented—and, as in our present day, hotly politicized—crisis of aging.
“A must-read book for scholars, demographers, historians, health care professionals, and policy makers who get that aging—free of ageism—is our rightful destiny. ” —Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks
“Breathtaking in scope and in importance, this book showcases Charise’s unmatched eloquence. She shows that what’s new in thinking about twenty-first century population aging is in fact old, but also that what is old is always strangely new. ” —Sally Chivers, author of The Silvering Screen
“Absolutely fascinating and illuminating, Charise is masterful in identifying crucial shifts in thought. ” —Teresa Mangum, author of Married, Middle-Brow, and Militant
“Charise’s brilliantly argued book is an important intervention in nineteenth-century British literature, age studies, and medical humanities. It brings these areas of inquiry together in what seems a seamless way—as if they have always traveled together or ought to have. ” —Devoney Looser, author of The Making of Jane Austen