- Aging and desire in a few novels
- The Journal of Aging, Humanities and the Arts
- Volume | Issue number
- 1 | 1-2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
Literature can tell us many things about aging and changing attitudes towards love and sexuality. Though the perspective of being still alive and able to create seems to give older writers renewed strength, their characters often illustrate the splitting of libidinal life: on one hand there is the anxiety to die, and on the other hand the will to survive. Desire takes new forms and sometimes seem to disappear.
This article gives a few examples of how aging is experienced in 20th century novels. The decay of the body and the disappearance of desire are the most poignant consequences of old age, and we discover how writers like Thomas Mann, Garcia Marquez, Italo Zvevo, Philip Roth, and others express this in their literary work. This can almost be seen as a psychoanalytical research, as literature and psychoanalysis both involve aspects of language, memory, and fantasy that are strongly connected to each other.
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