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Chapter 10 - The Aging Contemporary: Aging Families and Generational Connections in Irish Writing

from Part Two - Contemporary Conditions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2020

Paige Reynolds
Affiliation:
College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts
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Summary

In a youth-driven society such as Ireland, older adults may well find themselves marginalized by institutionalized ageism and figured as outsiders in the cultural imagination. Rather than static concepts of age, however, new patterns are emerging in post–Celtic Tiger Irish literature in its representations of aging. Read within the interdisciplinary framework of cultural gerontology, the narratives of aging explored in this chapter reveal recent changes among the middle-aged and older characters’ views on, as well as their place within, Irish society and culture. These works, spanning drama, poetry, and fiction, illuminate the complexities of later life, informed by declining health and experiences of loss, while at the same time highlighting generational interdependencies. Crucially, they avoid the nuclear family as a symbol on which to model the nation, urging readers to embrace new notions of the Irish family, ones that might adjust to accommodate and incorporate better the experiences of growing old.

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The New Irish Studies , pp. 177 - 192
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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