Research Project: Flaming Embers: Ageing and Desire in Contemporary Literature
Brian Worsfold, University of Lleida, Spain
Carmen Zamorano Llena Susan Ballyn, University of Barcelona, Spain Nela Bureu Ramos, University of Lleida, Spain Núria Casado Gual, University of Lleida, Spain Dennis Cooley, University of Manitoba, Canada Emma Domínguez Rué, University of Lleida, Spain Billy Gray, Lulea Tekniska Universitet Marta Miquel Baldellou, University of Lleida, Spain Markus M. Mueller, Universität Trier, Germany Maria O'Neill, University of Lleida, Spain Maricel Oró Piqueras, University of Lleida, Spain Isabel Santaulària, University of Lleida, Spain Jeffrey Skoblow, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, USA Maria Vidal Grau, University of Lleida, Spain
For a few years now, the realisation that the population is ageing worldwide has led to an increase in studies of the ageing process in diverse disciplines and from different perspectives. Inter-disciplinary gerontological research is providing a deeper insight into the human ageing process and is revealing that ageing is as much a cultural phenomenon as it is a biological one. It is also showing that the Western perception of old age as a phase of physical degradation and dependency no longer pertains and, in an era of increasing longevity, has ceased to provide a viable basis on which to develop strategies of provision and support.
While acknowledging the essential nature of biological factors in the human ageing process, interdisciplinary cultural gerontology relates to those aspects of human ageing not covered specifically by the biomedical sciences. Personal experience and acculturated images and perceptions are intrinsic to any holistic understanding of the ageing process. It is in this sense that the arts, the humanities and the social sciences have a fundamental role to play in the study of human ageing and constitute a valuable complement to other areas of gerontological research. From the perspective of cultural gerontology, this book aims to collect a number of essays on literary representations of ageing in contemporary literature in English. These essays reveal culturally-determined perceptions, attitudes and effects of human ageing that do not fall within the fields of research of other disciplines, and can thereby shed important light on this complex experience that is shared by all.