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Grant number: FT-249066-16

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Jacob Michael Jewusiak
Valdosta State University (Valdosta, GA 31698-0100)

Aging and the Elderly in 19th- and 20th-Century British Novels

Completion of a book-length study on aging and the elderly in 19th and 20th-century British novels.

Literary criticism provides compelling models for understanding youthful plots such as the bildungsroman and the rapid social transformations of modernity, but does not often account for the elderly subject who lingers on the margins of such culturally dominant narratives. NARRATING AGING: TEMPORAL REALISM AND THE VICTORIAN NOVEL addresses this gap by analyzing the formal significance of old age and aging in the novels of Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, and Virginia Woolf. I argue that the difficulty of representing aging as a continuous process provokes novelists to theorize narrative duration and contest the conventions of realism. Focusing on aging masculinity, “redundant” women, queer sexuality, and the otherness of old age, my chapters show how the formal problem of duration becomes a political problem for the elderly, who vanish—in the Victorian novel and contemporary literary criticism—amidst the proliferation of youthful metaphors and plots.

Project fields:
British Literature; Interdisciplinary Studies, Other; Literary Criticism

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2016 – 7/31/2016