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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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The Politics and Personality of Age at the Fin de Siècle

The Politics and Personality of Age at the Fin de Siècle

(p.232) 6 The Politics and Personality of Age at the Fin de Siècle
The Victorians and Old Age

Karen Chase (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

A look at Morris's News From Nowhere complements the earlier analysis of Wilde and demonstrates an alternative aesthetic of aging. Morris imagines the transformation of the aging body as an index of social justice. From Morris's utopic fiction the account moves to the efforts of social scientists and political reformers to produce systematic change. Consideration of the passage of an Old Age Pension Bill leads to analysis of the work and lives of Charles Booth and Beatrice Webb, whose statistical surveys and descriptions dominated the discourse of aging in the last decade of the century. Webb's friendship with Herbert Spencer, and Spencer's protracted period of aging become of particular relevance as one moves from the defense of sociological ‘portraiture’ to the individual experience of old age.

Keywords:   social justice, utopia, social science, statistics, Old Age Pension Bill

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