Later Life : Exploring Ageing through Literature book cover
1st Edition

Later Life
Exploring Ageing through Literature

ISBN 9781032174464
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
192 Pages

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Book Description

Later Life views older age as a valuable stage of life and argues for the centrality of self-making to the quality of later life. Aiming to enrich an understanding of ageing as the unfolding process in which people try to negotiate vulnerabilities of their bodies and manage mortality, it explores the conditions for pursuing the search for knowledge of oneself in later life.

This new book, with the help of literary examples, presents factors both supporting and hindering the quality of the experience of later life. It demonstrates how wondering, courage and habit sustain the self-making in older age. After illustrating that the process of ageing also imposes ordeals, the book depicts remedies needed to overcome boredom, bitterness and sadness, three torments caused by the age-specific sense of time.

It is essential reading not only for academics and professionals in age studies, sociology of ageing, gerontology and health care, but also for a general audience. The book’s focus on the experiences of later life will appeal to the reader interested in understanding the complexities of ageing and in enhancing the quality of later life, while its reliance on literary illustrations will be appreciated by lovers of literature.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Later Life and The Experience of Ageing


1. Keeping on Wondering

2. It Takes Courage

3. The Enabling Potential of Habit


4. The Specious Present and Boredom

5. The Flexible Past and Bitterness

6. The Diminishing Future and SadnessEpilogue: Explications and Ellipses

Literary sources


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Barbara A. Misztal is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Leicester. She is the author of a number of books, including Multiple Normalities (2015), The Challenges of Vulnerability (2011), Intellectuals and the Public Good (2007), Social Theories of Remembering (2003), Informality ( 2000), Trust in Modern Society (1996) and Action on AIDS (with D. Moss,1990). Her current research interest is focused on search for narratives that make sense of the public sphere.