In recent years, ageing has become a major concern in literary studies, as critics engage with the implications of our radically changing demography. This path-breaking exploration of ageing in contemporary fiction from a well-known critic will be essential reading for academics and students working in this important emerging field. Ageing is not lived in symbolic isolation, it is mediated through historically evolving, often unstable and contested regimes of representation. As Morrison shows, fiction study — including a sophisticated attention to the contexts within which works are produced and read — can shed significant fresh light on these cultural dynamics. Using an approach to the cultural field drawn from Pierre Bourdieu, Slavoj ?i?ek and others, the book begins by mapping the area of ageing and fiction from a theoretical and methodological point of view. It then offers a series of model engagements with major fictional works, showing how, in different ways, each of them helps to focalize and trouble contemporary cultural assumptions about ageing.
The writers and texts explored cover a broad international range, from Chinua Achebe, writing out of the Nigeria of the 1960s, to Phillip Roth working in contemporary New York. They command an international readership and have been the subject of extensive critical discussion. However, none of them have been extensively studied in relation to ageing. Combining a sophisticated approach to critical reading with nuanced analysis of changing age culture, this book provides a fresh model for the study of ageing within modern literary studies.