Faces and Spaces: Locating Age in the Dickens World
The chapter begins with analysis of a few signature elderly characters in the Dickensian panoply, characters whose individual stories create a dynamic narrative of possibilities for the enactment of aging. The nurse Sairey Gamp and the self-supporting itinerant Betty Higden are two case studies. It moves on to consider London itself as a place which locates youth and age within the physical contexts of modernity. Within the city, the institutions of the workhouse and the asylum become the central stage for the drama of aging, and the chapter studies each in turn. Finally, if industrialism exacerbated a growing tension between country and city, in the Dickens world, the vexed relations between them are absorbed by the context of urbanity, and the narratives often unfold as a lively exchange between pastoral and urban conditions.
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