Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-v

Table of Contents

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p. vii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xvi

In the su mmer of 2005 I had dinner with my grandparents at a restaurant near their home in Utica, New York. The restaurant was chosen because it was my grandmother’s favorite, or more precisely, it was the only place outside her home where she would willingly eat a meal. Our...

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Prefatory Note: Defining Age

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p. xvii

My focus in Uncanny Subjects is primarily the condition of “old” age, or more precisely, the experience of aging into old age. Of course “old” is a highly relative term, largely dependent on perspective—hence the common preference for the more transparently comparative term...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xix-xx

First, I am grateful to Linda Hutcheon, whose encouragement and support have made this book possible. From our earliest conversations on the subject, she propelled me forward, inspiring and provoking my research with her astute insights. I was fortunate to a have a number of...

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Introduction: Uncanny Subjects

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pp. 1-19

This study addresses age as an undertheorized sign of difference in the humanities, a difference that contemporary narrative fiction and film can help illuminate. The twentieth and twenty-first centuries are important times for a reconsideration of aging into old age, given what is sometimes...

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1. Backward Glances: Narrative Identity and Lafe-life Review

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pp. 21-52

The notion that human subjects are constituted by narrative has become something of a theoretical truism. As Kathleen Woodward puts it, “To have a life means to possess its narrative” (Discontents 83, original emphasis). The belief in narrative as what Frederic Jameson calls “the...

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2. Troubling Versions: Dementia and Identity

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pp. 53-94

In his personal essay documenting his father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, Jonathan Franzen explains the necessity of his narrative intervention: “This was his disease. It was also, you could argue, his story. But you have to let me tell it” (How to Be Alone 11). Franzen’s remarks imply...

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3. Aging, Doubles, and the Mania of Dissemblance

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pp. 95-124

Julie Christie s comments articulate a curious yet common phenomenon in which the transformations of aging produce an unnerving double. Crises of recognition are not limited to those over sixty: explaining her use of Botox, forty-five-year-old actress Virginia Madsen has characterized...

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Conclusion: Uncanny Aging, Uncanny Selves

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pp. 125-138

How does one understand, adapt to, interpret, live with the seeming simultaneous sameness and difference that accompanies old age? I raised this question in the introduction to this book. In the chapters that followed I stressed transience and instability, arguing that the continual...

Works Cited

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pp. 139-149

Index

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pp. 151-154