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Looking at Very Old Age in the Eye: A Nuanced Approach to the Fourth Age in Contemporary Irish Fiction. A Case Study
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, English.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8434-1747
2018 (English)In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Background and Objectives

Associations of young-old age with successful aging have contributed to relegating negatively perceived aspects of aging to very old age. This has prompted the formation of the social imaginary of the fourth age. Re-examinations of the fourth age foreground the diversity of aging experiences among the oldest old. In this sense, literature is in a privileged position to contribute individual narratives of aging to this field. The main aim of this article is to analyze Irish writer Jennifer Johnston’s later fiction and how particularly two of her later fictional works contribute a nuanced re-examination of the fourth age through the narrativization of individual aging experiences of the oldest old in the contemporary Irish context.

Research Design and Methods

The work of sociologists and social theorists on re-examinations of the fourth age functions as the framework to analyze the selected fictional texts.

Results

The analysis of the oldest old characters in Truth or Fiction and Naming the Starsshows the contribution of literary texts to rethinking the fourth age as a time characterized by the inextricable combination of gains and losses, with emphasis on the diversity of the aging experiences of the oldest old and on the importance of sociocultural influence on individual aging.

Discussion and Implications

Combining longitudinal analyses with case studies, such as the ones suggested by these fictional texts, can provide a more accurate knowledge of the experience of advanced old age and the fourth age.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Fourth age, Contemporary Irish literature, Literary gerontology, Narrativization of individual aging experience
National Category
Specific Literatures
Research subject
Intercultural Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-25813DOI: 10.1093/geront/gny035PubMedID: 29688420OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-25813DiVA, id: diva2:1134812
Available from: 2017-08-21 Created: 2017-08-21 Last updated: 2018-04-26Bibliographically approved

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Zamorano Llena, Carmen

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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