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Adulthood and Other Fictions

Format: Academic Monograph
Media: Hardback
PublisherCode: 9780198831884
Publisher: OUP Oxford

The nineteenth century saw the rise of chronological age as a crucial component of US social and political life: age was added to the census in 1850; schools were organized around age groups; birthday cards were mass produced; geriatrics became a medical specialty. Adulthood and Other Fictions reads American literature as a rich, critical account of this modern culture of age and examines how our most well-known writers registered-and often resisted-age expectations, particularly as they applied to women and people of color. As this book shows, writers including Louisa May Alcott, Frederick Douglass, and Henry James used literature as a space to imagine alternative ideas about aging and to challenge conventional definitions of adulthood.

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