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The Victorians and Old Age$
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Karen Chase

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199564361

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199564361.001.0001

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Faces and Spaces: Locating Age in the Dickens World

Faces and Spaces: Locating Age in the Dickens World

(p.11) 1 Faces and Spaces: Locating Age in the Dickens World
The Victorians and Old Age

Karen Chase (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The chapter begins with analysis of a few signature elderly characters in the Dickensian panoply, characters whose individual stories create a dynamic narrative of possibilities for the enactment of aging. The nurse Sairey Gamp and the self-supporting itinerant Betty Higden are two case studies. It moves on to consider London itself as a place which locates youth and age within the physical contexts of modernity. Within the city, the institutions of the workhouse and the asylum become the central stage for the drama of aging, and the chapter studies each in turn. Finally, if industrialism exacerbated a growing tension between country and city, in the Dickens world, the vexed relations between them are absorbed by the context of urbanity, and the narratives often unfold as a lively exchange between pastoral and urban conditions.

Keywords:   institution, workhouse, asylum, pastoral, nursing, self-support

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