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Lucy Perry

Lucy PerryI am a final year PhD student, and my thesis is on representations of senescence in contemporary Anglophone literature. I set the boundaries between 1955 with the first translation of Samuel Beckett’s Molloy into English, and 2010 which marks the publication of the most recent Alzheimer’s narrative, Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness. My overarching focus is on the West’s ‘trans-’, ‘anti-’, and ‘post-’ -marked discourses of ageing, which include: ancient Greek and Roman medical/proverbial texts that latently de-naturalize senescence; Alois Alzheimer’s research which recast the cognitive/intellectual involution of the aged formerly accepted as natural as pathological, and hence something to be cured or overcome; the aesthetic deferral of old age through cosmetic surgery, and physiologically through body modification; the ubiquitous axiom ‘anti-ageing’; the ostracism of the economically inactive elderly and evasive verbal habits in western culture; the pathologization of old age in medicine and the ensuing shift in the medical vocabulary of ageing (i.e. the epidemiological transition); and the rejection of deterministic, essentialist conceptions of the body in trans- and posthuman philosophy.

My key interest in all of these is the representation of old age as not in contrast to youth but a possible state of youth. My main question in this thesis in relation to this is: how does the gradual cultural disinvention of old age, and the problematization of young/old binaries, affect how we textualize old age in contemporary literature? I have particular interest in the dialogue between literature and medicine in the representation of ageing, and so underpinning this thesis is a focus on how far the reification of ‘anti-ageing’ ideologies through medicine and medical technology elicit changes in the language and symbolism authors employ in fictional representations of ageing.

Student Journals

Cake publishes poetry, flash fiction and reviews with work from established poets and newcomers alike. Go to Cake»

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The Flash Journal is an undergraduate run termly journal which publishes fiction, poetry, critical and hybrid work by current Lancaster undergrads. Go to Flash»

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