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Perverse Identities

Identities in Conflict


Flocel Sabate

The urgent need for the study of exclusive identities in conflict is ever more apparent in a globalizing world in which societies are becoming multicultural and complex and in which inter-cultural contact and the co-existence of languages and cultures comes increasingly to bear on the construction of plural identities. The present book considers perversion in the construction of identity and the perverse usage of identity in areas such as social cohesion – xenophobia, racism, ostracism, rejection, ageism, marginalisation – and the mismanagement of linguistic identity, language groups and associated discriminatory practise arising out of historical and culturally based discrimination. The texts were submitted in an international meeting held in the Institute for Identities and Societies of the University on Lleida (Catalonia, Spain) in November 2012.
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Tracing Miss Havisham in the Mirror, or Aging through the Other



Universitat de Lleida

1. Introducing the discourse of aging in Charles Dickens

The bicentenary of Charles Dickens was celebrated in the year 2012, showing that, two hundred years after his birth, many of his characters have become part of our common cultural background and iconography. Classic and postmodern theatrical and cinematic adaptations have greatly contributed to popularising Dickens’ novels and characters even further, so as to suit the demands of different audiences through the years. From the perspective of aging studies, some of his novels have featured outstanding old characters that still pervade our popular culture and are, even nowadays, easily identified as eminently Dickensian. The way aged characters were portrayed in his novels significantly evolved as the author grew older. As a case in point, Fagin, in Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist, published in 1837, when the author was merely in his mid-twenties, is often sarcastically referred to as “the merry old gentleman” or even “the old Jew”, and presented as a self-confessed miser, teaching children to become pickpockets and exploiting them, until he is finally apprehended and sentenced to death. Fagin’s bleak characterisation as an aged character remains negative for the most part until his pitiable anguish and vulnerability is ultimately revealed at the end of the novel, while in prison, he awaits his execution.

Charles Dickens’ portrayal of the aged was subsequently transformed in A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, when the author was over thirty, through...

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