A History of Old Age

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Pat Thane, Professor of Contemporary History Institute of Historical Research Pat Thane
J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005 - Family & Relationships - 320 pages
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As the last stage of a long life, old age has been a subject about which practically every mortal has thought, sometimes with dread, sometimes with acceptance, but always with the need somehow to come to terms with a challenging condition.
In the book, seven contributors examine how the best thinkers and artists of each historical epoch in the West have treated old age. They examine the myths--like our belief that modern man lives longer than his ancestors did--and the images, both visual and verbal, that have been created to represent that which we shall all become.
Full of surprising and fascinating facts about old age and the literature and art it has inspired, A History of Old Age provides a welcome and refreshing look at what the subject has meant to the Greeks and the Romans, medieval men and women, the Romantics, and the modern men and women of rootless, urban societies. Opulently and ingeniously illustrated with reproductions drawn from this astonishingly wide range of eras and media, it offers reassurance as it brings to light the strength and nobility so many writers and artists have found in the elderly. It is an uplifting companion for those who, like it or not, are beginning to understand the inevitability of their own aging process.

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A history of old age

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Sometimes uplifting, sometimes painful, and always fascinating, this richly illustrated volume presents a chronological study of how old age has been regarded throughout history. Editor Thane (deputy ... Read full review


The Age of Old Age
The Middle Ages and Renaissance
Retirement and exemption from service The body and the soul

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About the author (2005)

Pat Thane is deputy director of the Institute of Historical Research, London; Tim Parkin is professor of classics, University of Canterbury; Shulamith Shahar is professor emeritus, Tel Aviv University; Marcia Pointon is professor emerita and former Chair, School of History and Architecture,
University of Manchester; Thomas Cole is professor at the University of Texas; and Deborah Cherry is professor of the history of art at Sussex University.

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