Women and Ageing
Private Meaning, Social Lives

Routledge, 2020

This edited collection considers the ways older women’s life narratives redefine culturally imposed conceptions of what it means to grow older. Drawing on research from age studies as well as social and cultural gerontology, the contributors explore the subjective accounts and diverse voices of older women. In doing so, they examine the tensions between older women’s social identities versus their individual narratives.

In their chapters, the contributors acknowledge, explore and contextualise women’s experiences of growing older, thus counterbalancing the often one-sided, negative representations of ageing perpetuated by dominant cultural discourse. They focus on diverse forms of life writing including memoirs and (auto)biography, digital and visual forms of life narrative as well as autoethnographic accounts. As the chapters in this collection demonstrate, life writing by and about older women often necessitates opening out literary forms and modes of critique, searching for narrative and performative strategies, and creating spaces in which to inscribe subjective experiences. Relationships, intergenerational connections, and visual and material cues are often integral to these analyses, which assert the richness of older women’s life narratives.

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Women and Ageing: Private Meaning, Social Lives

Life Writing, Dec. 2018
Margaret O’Neill & Michaela Schrage-Früh

The focus of this special issue is on the ways older women’s life narrative redefines culturallyimposed conceptions of what it means to get older. Drawing on research from cultural geron-tology and critical age studies, the authors acknowledge, explore and contextualise women’sexperiences of getting older, thus counterbalancing the mainly one-sided, negative represen-tations of ageing as perpetuated by dominant cultural discourse. In doing so, they focus ondiverse forms of life writing including memoirs and (auto)biography, digital and visualforms of life narrative as well as autoethnographic accounts.

Women and Ageing in Irish Writing, Drama and Film

Nordic Irish Studies, 2018
Margaret O’Neill & Michaela Schrage-Früh (EDS.)

Margaret O’Neill and Michaela Schrage-Früh
Introduction: Women and Ageing in Irish Writing, Drama and Film

Margaret Mills Harper
The Problem of Crazy Jane

Katarzyna Ostalska
‘What will I do / When I am too old / for such love songs?’: Desire and Midlife Sexuality in Contemporary Irish Women’s Poetry

Eileen Casey
The Ageing Woman: From Grave (Bone) to Cradle (Blossom)

Michaela Schrage-Früh
Reimagining the Fourth Age: The Ageing Mother in the Poetry of Mary Dorcey and Paul Durcan

Brenda O’Connell
Samuel Beckett’s ‘Hysterical Old Hags’: The Sexual Politics of Female Ageing in All That Fall and Not I

Mária Kurdi
‘Old women interfere with my sense of myself’: Attitudes to Female Age and Ageing in the Midlands Trilogy and Marble by Marina Carr

Anne Fogarty
‘Someone whose kindness did not matter’: Femininity and Ageing in Anne Enright’s The Green Road

Elke D’hoker
Experiences of Ageing in Short Stories by Irish Women Writers

Margaret O’Neill
Kate O’Brien: A Portrait of the Author in Older Age

Luz Mar González-Arias
Ageing Iconography: Non-normative Representations of the Irish Maternal Body

See special issue

Ageing Women in Literature and Visual Culture

Reflections, Refractions, Reimaginings

Palgrave MacMillan, 2017
Cathy McGlynn, Margaret O’Neill & Michaela Schrage-Früh (Eds.)

This timely collection engages with representations of women and ageing in literature and visual culture. Acknowledging that cultural conceptions of ageing are constructed and challenged across a variety of media and genres, the editors bring together experts in literature and visual culture to foster a dialogue across disciplines. Exploring the process of ageing in its cultural reflections, refractions and reimaginings, the contributors to this volume analyse how artists, writers, directors and performers challenge, and in some cases reaffirm, cultural constructions of ageing women, as well as give voice to ageing women’s subjectivities. Ageing Women in Literature and Visual Culture puts into conversation interconnected disciplines around four overarching topics: Narratives of Ageing, Social Roles, The Body and Embodiment as well as Class, Race and Agency, and concludes with an afterword by Germaine Greer which suggests possible avenues for future research.

“This book offers a unique appraisal of visual cultures of women’s ageing across literature, the arts and contemporary mass media. It is wonderfully positive without shrinking from matters of the body, dementia and death. Its well- written and empirically rich chapters revitalise feminist critical accounts of age and opens up space for much needed intergenerational and interdisciplinary dialogue. The book is a ‘must read’ for cultural gerontologists and feminists – of all ages!” (Professor Jayne Raisborough, Leeds Beckett University, UK, author of Lifestyle Media and the Formation of the Self and Fat Bodies, Health and the Media)

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