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Discourses of Ageing in Fiction and Feminism: The Invisible Woman [Hardcover]

Dr Jeannette King
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

13 Nov 2012
What do fictional representations of older women add to our understanding of a group of individuals often marginalized in our youth-oriented society? How far can they challenge the more dominant representations to be found in popular culture, and even in medical and sociological journals? And what has feminism had to contribute? Starting from an overview of nineteenth-century women's fiction in relation to these contexts, Discourses of Ageing in Fiction and Feminism explores these questions through close readings of the work of major twentieth-century women novelists, considered in relation to these non-fictional perceptions. It argues that their novels offer a feminist understanding of the 'invisible' woman sometimes lacking in feminism itself.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (13 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230298567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230298569
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,413,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Book Description

An analysis of fictional representations of older women in relation to medical and social discourses of female ageing

About the Author

JEANNETTE KING is Emeritus Professor in English at the University of Aberdeen, UK. Having taught part-time for many years for the Open University while bringing up her children, she moved into Further Education before becoming a Lecturer in Women's Studies in the Department of English at Aberdee in 1995 where she taught until her retirement.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now you see her, now you don't 7 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover
Now you see her, now you don't

Discourses of Ageing in Fiction and Feminism The Invisible Woman
by Jeannette King

On the cover of Jeannette King's book on the subject of the older woman is an eye catching picture of an elegant woman in a black suit and hat. But where's the face to go with the suit and hat? Instead of a face there's a blank. Hence the title of the book The Invisible Woman. In a patriarchal society where woman's value is determined according to her value to men, once she reaches the menopause and the end of fecundity, she becomes invisible.

To what extent is this true today? As a healthy and happily married poet and novelist in her 80th year, my exposure to the discourse of ageing doesn't go much beyond objecting to being called `dearie' in the local post office. I appreciate, though, my fortunate situation. I think of a woman of sixty in search of a partner of the opposite sex. She would probably have her sights set on a man of similar age. How many men of sixty do you know, on the other hand, who'd have eyes for a women of sixty?

Jeannette King's book, however, is not just about today's ageing women. It's a scholarly and at the same time very readable study of how older women have been seen - and not seen - over the last 150 years. In particular it's an impressive review of the perceptions of older women as found in the discourses of medical, psychological and social writings at key periods over these years.
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