Contemporary Narratives of Senility

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Könönen , M 2020 , ' Contemporary Narratives of Senility ' , Laboratorium , vol. 12 , no. 2 , pp. 169-186 .

Title: Contemporary Narratives of Senility
Author: Könönen, Maija
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Modern Languages 2010-2017
Date: 2020
Language: eng
Number of pages: 18
Belongs to series: Laboratorium
ISSN: 2076-8214
Abstract: This essay explores the various ways of talking about senility and how the two competing (or, possibly, complementing) discourses-the biomedical dementia discourse and the discourse of senility as part of "normal" aging-affect our perception of and attitudes toward old age. Moreover, I explore the role of fiction in articulating senility. As my approach combines critical gerontology with narratological analysis, it belongs to the burgeoning domain of literary gerontology, a discipline that embraces various literary genres from fiction to nonfiction. This double perspective of literary studies and cultural gerontology makes it possible to examine senility as a historically and culturally specific concept and phenomenon. My aim is to demonstrate with two examples from contemporary Russian short prose (Nina Katerli's story "Na dva golosa" [In Two Voices] and Nina Sadur's story "Stul" [The Chair]) how a literary work can be related to prevailing cultural, sociological, and medical discourses on and norms of aging. With tools of narratology I shed light on the literary devices deployed in the stories to articulate the experience of senility from the viewpoint of the elderly protagonists themselves.
Subject: Dementia
Literary Gerontology
Russian Prose
6122 Literature studies

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