Prematurely Aged, Long-Lived: The Effects of Ageing at a Different Pace in Edgar Allan Poe and Edward Bulwer-Lytton
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The conceptualisations of the ageing process are culturally and temporally conditioned. Critics such as Teresa Mangum first and Karen Chase later have argued that the Victorians were particularly concerned about ageing and old age. In the nineteenth-century, the American writer Edgar Allan Poe and the Victorian English man of letters Edward Bulwer-Lytton, focusing on similar topics in their respective literary works, can be considered transatlantic doubles as well as indicative of national conceptualisations about their own processes of ageing. Being economically disinherited in his young adulthood, after growing accustomed to a reasonably welloff standard of living during his childhood, Edgar Allan Poe lived fast and underwent a quickened process of ageing. Conversely, Edward Bulwer-Lytton lived a reasonably long life and often behaved according to one’s age, illustrating how to age well and highlighting the dignity that the process of ageing bestows upon the individual. Both writers experienced different turning points in their lives that conditioned their own way of perceiving ageing, which is in turn reflected in their literary works. This article aims at analysing both writers’ differing approaches to ageing, as well as the different pace of life they adopted and its effects.
Is part ofOp.Cit.: A Journal of Anglo-American Studies II series, 2012, núm. 1, p. 79-96
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