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Towards a Poetic of Ageing: the Links Between Literature and Life – William L. Randal and A. Elizabeth Mckim- an Analysis of the Article

  • Date Submitted: 02/19/2013 10:20 PM
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TOWARDS A POETIC OF AGEING: THE LINKS BETWEEN LITERATURE AND LIFE – WILLIAM L. RANDAL and A. ELIZABETH McKIM- AN ANALYSIS OF THE ARTICLE
The article draws on recent thinking in narrative gerontology to look at the biological aspects of aging on which a narrative perspective can shed further light. It is now widely accepted that ‘‘age’’ and “ageing’’ are cultural concepts. The thinking encouraged by critical gerontology has been crucially important in provoking questions about the complexities of later life, age and ageing. Similarly, the interrogation of stories of age and ageing via narrative approaches and as found in literature are increasingly recognised as an important source of knowledge for mining the intricacies of later life.
The word gerontology derives its origin from the Greek word geron, “old man”; coined by Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov in 1903. It is the study of the social, psychological and biological aspects of ageing. Gerontologists view aging in terms of four distinct processes, chronological aging, biological aging, psychological aging, and social aging. Chronological aging is the aging based on a person's years lived from birth. Biological aging refers to the physical changes that reduce the efficiency of organ systems. Psychological aging includes the changes that occur in sensory and perceptual processes, cognitive abilities, adaptive capacity, and personality. Social aging refers to an individual's changing roles and relationships with family and society.
The article investigates a very different aspect of biological ageing which deals not with decadence of body parts but ageing poetically and gaining control over the process of ageing via recreating and regenerating the story of later life. The proposal revolves around three key concepts: narrative imagination, narrative identity and narrative environment. Randall and McKim suggest that narrative imagination is something that we all possess, narrative identity results from exercising it on...

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