Intimations of Immortality: Semiologies of Ageing and the Lineaments of Eternity in Modern and Contemporary Prose.

Perry, Lucy Anne (2012) Intimations of Immortality: Semiologies of Ageing and the Lineaments of Eternity in Modern and Contemporary Prose. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

This thesis is an examination of the semiologies of age in modern and contemporary prose. The chapters that follow emerge from my continuing interest in how anti-senescence medicine, gerontophobia, and the commodification of immortality in discourses of consumerism have impacted literary representations of time, organic decay, and the meaning of death. Each chapter deals in different ways with the question of how to represent mortality in the context of a culture incredulous of ageing and the laws of nature, and a populace seeking to aestheticise, medicalise, and verbalise its way out of the ageing process. Paradoxical though it is, I argue that Anglo-American culture's jejune and oneiric fantasies of immortality, rejuvenation, and perpetual youth are not located in science fiction, mythos, extropian philosophy, or trans-/posthumanist discourse, but in the literature of ageing and the very spectacle of decay. The contemporary literature of ageing offers a clear thematic preoccupation with the pathos of mortality and senility. However, at the same time, the conventional or canonical indices of decay and decline are replete with counterrealist inflections and semiotic echoes of immortality. From the prose and dramaturgy of Samuel Beckett to post-2000 Alzheimer's fiction, the literature of ageing, I argue, transforms the depreciation of old age readily into its ideality, and makes the reader cognisant of the realities in which we, as members of a culture at once ageing demographically and anti-ageing ideologically, currently operate.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Lancaster University (United Kingdom), 2012.
Subjects:
ID Code:
133565
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
02 May 2019 16:36
Refereed?:
No
Published?:
Unpublished
Last Modified:
23 Oct 2020 23:57