By Kay Heath
Getting older through the e-book deals an leading edge examine the ways that center age, which for hundreds of years have been thought of the top of lifestyles, used to be reworked throughout the Victorian period right into a interval of decline. unmarried girls have been nearing heart age at thirty, and moms of their forties have been anticipated to turn into sexless; in the meantime, fortyish males anguished over no matter if their “time for romance had long gone by.” recognized novels of the interval, in addition to ads, cartoons, and scientific and recommendation manuals, Kay Heath uncovers how this ideology of decline permeated a altering tradition. getting older via the booklet unmasks and confronts midlife nervousness through interpreting its origins, demonstrating that our present adverse angle towards midlife springs from Victorian roots, and arguing that purely once we comprehend the culturally built nature of age do we divulge its ubiquitous and stealthy effect.
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Extra info for Aging by the Book: The Emergence of Midlife in Victorian Britain
Reproduced by permission. against exoticized geographies of the Earth and his own quailing heart. By century’s end, ﬁctive masculinity is besieged with troubling challenges, and an uncomplicatedly good man is much harder to ﬁnd. In this chapter, I trace a history of intensifying loss for aging men chronicled in Victorian ﬁction. After ﬁrst considering how changing concepts of masculinity in a newly industrialized Britain increasingly stigmatized midlife as a time of danger, I then follow an accelerating age trauma both disclosed by and developed in novels that feature aging men on the marriage market.
Resourcefulness, a mastery of environmental signs and a knowledge of natural history” (MacKenzie, “Imperial” 179). According to James Walvin, by the late nineteenth century, the new “cult of sporting manliness” had replaced Britain’s history of abolition as proof of her superiority over other nations, and empire became the “arena” where such manhood was proven (246). The rigors of empire, increasingly associated with sports, hold requirements aging men could be hard-pressed to meet. Older males also were especially subject to late-century anxieties that degeneration was causing weakness and earlier aging in the British populace.
Being what you seem” included displaying a body that registered a subject’s social worth and marriageability, upon which not only gender, race, and class but one’s age was made clearly evident. At the same time, however, Victorians became increasingly interested in preventing signs of age. Taking charge of age not only can seem liberating but also may produce great anxiety about disjunctions between seeming and being. The nineteenthcentury novel is caught in a tension between desire for clearly read signs of age and a perhaps greater need to avoid such signs.