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Autumnal Faces

Old Age in British and Irish Dramatic Narratives

Katarzyna Bronk

Autumnal Faces is a timely study within the ever-growing research on the ways older people and ageing itself have been conceptualized and represented in the popular imagination and, more specifically, in drama and on stage. Tracing this theme from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century, this volume offers original, innovative and diachronic analyses of plays and performances that focus on or are peopled with older characters. The contributors study the roots of positive and negative stereotypes pertaining to senescence and the elderly, offering meticulous interpretations of dramatic narratives and performances on topics such as gendered ageing, geronticide, the «sins» of senex amans and iratus, ageing and uncontrolled passions versus ageing and prudence, longevity and immortality, memory and life narratives, the elderly as storytellers and repositories of wisdom in British and Irish culture, Alzheimer’s disease and the loss of self, and intergenerational conflicts. Ultimately, this collection of essays answers the ongoing call for more studies devoted to humanistic/cultural gerontology, seeing old age not just as an issue affecting past generations but one that is increasingly important as we all age into an unknown future.

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12 Old Age and Motherhood in April De Angelis’ After Electra (Laura Tommaso)


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12  Old Age and Motherhood in April De Angelis’ After Electra


The issue of roles for older actresses has been widely discussed in recent years, with a host of outstanding performers speaking out about a scarcity of arduous, testing parts in the English repertoire. It is why productions such as the recent De Angelis’ After Electra (2015) with the emotional lives of older women placed centre stage are so important. Building on De Angelis’ own critical work, recent literature on the twenty-first-century British feminist drama and cultural gerontology, the present chapter aims to analyse the ways in which ageing and motherhood are represented in After Electra which seems both to challenge and reflect long-standing assumptions about late life and femininity.

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