The Oxford Book of Aging

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9780195073690: The Oxford Book of Aging

Most of us today can expect to live into our seventies in reasonably good health. (In fact, the fastest growing segment of the population is the group eighty-five and older.) Yet our culture offers few convincing ways to help us find purpose in our later years. The ancient and medieval vision of aging as a mysterious part of the eternal order of things has given way to the secular, scientific, and individualistic outlook of modernity. No longer seen as a way station along life's spiritual journey, old age has been redefined as a problem to be solved by science and medicine. Older people have been moved to society's margins, and, as a result, we have become uncertain about what it means to age.
To help us make sense of our journey through life, The Oxford Book of Aging offers some two hundred and fifty pieces that illuminate the pleasures, pains, dreams, and triumphs of people as they strive to live out their days in a meaningful way. Fiction, poetry, memoirs, essays, children's stories, reflections by philosophers, historians, and psychologists, African and Japanese legends, excerpts from the Koran and the Bible, scientific and medical tracts--the variety of writings is remarkable. The excerpts shed light on the many aspects of later life, including creativity, love, memory, spiritual growth, and the value of work. The perspectives range from Schopenhauer's dark "Disillusion is the chief characteristic of old age" when we come "by degrees to see that our existence is all empty and void," to Robert Browning's uplifting "Grow old along with me! / The best is yet to be" (a vision so idealistic that Ogden Nash was moved to write "Such a statement, certes, / Could emanate only from a youngster is his thirties"). We read Mozart's letter to his dying father, Alice Walker's endearing "To Hell With Dying" (about the vital ties between children and the old), Annie Dillard's meditation on her mother's hands, and Mark Twain's tongue-in-cheek formula for reaching age seventy ("It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain when awake"). There's a marvelous vein of poetry woven through the volume, ranging from Shakespeare's seventy-third sonnet ("That time of year thou mayst in me behold"), to Dylan Thomas's "Do not go gentle into that good night," to the Bible's Psalm Twenty-three, to Yeats's "Sailing to Byzantium." And there is a great diversity of voices, from Huang Ti (a Chinese physician who lived some 4700 years ago), to Black Elk (an Oglala Sioux holy man), to Alifa Rifaat (a contemporary Egyptian writer), to an Appalachian woman's oral history.
Through these carefully chosen writings, Thomas R. Cole and Mary G. Winkler demonstrate that the joys, fears, sufferings, and mysteries of aging can be successfully explored, with humility and self-knowledge, with love and compassion, with a sense of the sacred, and with acceptance of physical decline and mortality. "We who are old know that age is more than a disability," Florida Scott-Maxwell wrote while in her early eighties. "It is an intense and varied experience, almost beyond our capacity at times, but something to be carried high." In The Oxford Book of Aging, we find this "intense and varied experience" captured before our eyes.

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About the Author:


About the Editors:
Thomas R. Cole is Professor and Graduate Program Director at the Institute for the Medical Humanities, University of Texas Medical Branch. He is the author of The Journey of Life: A Cultural History of Aging in America, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Mary G. Winkler is Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She is co-editor, with Letha B. Cole, of The Good Body: Asceticism in Contemporary Culture.

Review:

"Presents excerpts from the musings of some two hundred and fifty writers concerning the pains and triumphs of our (potentially) most magnificent years."--Francine du Plessix Gray, The New Yorker

"Very impressive....The editors' varied background in history, ethics, medicine, and art history shows in their often inspired choices. The pieces range across the centuries, countries, and cultures. The mix of male and female experience impressed me....The multicultural and multigenerational
mix is equally good....One of the great strengths of this book is that it is informative and moving at the same time."--Anne Wyatt-Brown, author of Barbara Pym: A Critical Biography and co-editor of Aging and Gender in Literature, with Janice Rossen

"This collection offers inspiration, insight, humor, and wisdom. The selections are fresh and often moving. Readers of all ages will find enjoyment and enrichment in these pages."--John C. Rother, Director, Legislation and Public Policy Division, American Association of Retired Persons

"The choice of topics resonates beautifully with the editors' emphasis on meaning--from the opening section on "Stages/Journey of Life" to the final section on "Remembrance," which understands memory not only in terms of an older person thinking back through the past but also in terms of
memorializing those who are older."--Kathleen Woodward, author of Aging and Its Discontents: Freud and other Fictions

"Old age is the fate of all of us, if we are lucky enough to get that far. Just what it means, and what place it has in the human condition, are questions as old as human life itself. The Oxford Book of Aging gives us access to the thoughts of people over the centuries, thus bringing us in
touch with the past, and providing a way of making greater sense of the present. This is a lovely book, and one that all of us who age--which is all of us--can greatly learn from."--Daniel Callahan, President, The Hastings Center

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Cole, Thomas R.; Winkler, Mary G. (Eds.)
Editore: Oxford University Press (1994)
ISBN 10: 019507369X ISBN 13: 9780195073690
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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press, 1994. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 1st Edition. ## NEW book is clean, crisp, unclipped and unmarked. First Edition. First printing. Full number line. Dust jacket is New with minimal shelf wear. Black cloth covers with gilt lettering and border on spine and front. No marks in or on book. NOT A REMAINDER. Not book club. 419 pages. Index. Dust jacket protected in a crystal clear MYLAR cover. Bubble wrapped and custom boxed for standard shipping. Gift wrapped free. Unopened, unread. New First Edition. Codice libro della libreria 002801

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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 019507369X New Condition. Codice libro della libreria NEW7.0860874

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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press, USA, 1994. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 1. Codice libro della libreria DADAX019507369X

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Thomas R. Cole; Mary C. Winkler
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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press, 1994. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria M019507369X

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