fredag 22 januari 2016
Ageing & Society - Fiction as a gerontological resource: Norah Hoult's iThere Were No Windows/i
Ageing & Society - Fiction as a gerontological resource: Norah Hoult's iThere Were No Windows/i: This paper starts from the premise that novelists have to some extent filled the gap left by mainstream feminism's relative silence about gendered ageing. To develop the argument, it explores the representation of memory loss and its impact on identity and self-image in Norah Hoult's novel, There Were No Windows, which was first published in 1944. The novel is set in London during the Second World War, when the traumas of a city experiencing the Blitz and the blackout reflected the terror and inner darkness experienced by the principal character, Claire Temple, herself a minor novelist, under the onslaught of dementia. There Were No Windows constructs the character of Claire through the combination of her own often-disordered thoughts and the perspectives of those who live with or visit her. This paper focuses throughout on ageing as a gendered experience and the construction of the older woman. It identifies the different gendered discourses of ageing that are imposed on Claire in order to construct her as the female , in the sense theorised by Simone de Beauvoir. It also relates the novel to contemporaneous medical and sociological discourses of ageing and old age. Hoult's implicitly feminist reading of Claire's condition brings the issue of gender to the foreground of the novel's treatment of old age. Through my reading of There Were No Windows, I suggest what it is that fictions of ageing can offer those working in the field of gerontology.