Odd Age, Old Age, and Doubled Lives: Asynchronicity and Ageing Queerly in Israel Zangwill’s Short Stories

Crossley, Alice (2021) Odd Age, Old Age, and Doubled Lives: Asynchronicity and Ageing Queerly in Israel Zangwill’s Short Stories. 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 32 . ISSN 1755-1560

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Odd Age, Old Age, and Doubled Lives: Asynchronicity and Ageing Queerly in Israel Zangwill’s Short Stories
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Abstract

This article explores ageing in the short, comic fiction of Anglo-Jewish New Humourist Israel Zangwill. In a range of short stories, which reflect on the ways in which fin de siècle culture tends to align later life with decline and diminishment, Zangwill reveals the paradoxes of ageing by playing with such assumptions. These texts subvert conventional views on ageing, challenge the binary opposition of youth and old age, and critique the physiology of ageing through intergenerational difference and familial relations. The essay argues that Zangwill’s texts emphasise the capacity for ageing – as a subjective experience, social identity, and means of elucidating the variable self through time – to be understood as a site of resistance or mode of subversion. In particular, his story ‘An Odd Life’ establishes creative ways to conceptualise age, as ageing is experienced by the protagonist outside the constraints of temporal realism. Willy Streetside’s anachronistic ageing – as he can be seen as simultaneously a child, in midlife, and an elderly man – manifests through a queerly asynchronous temporality, which operates beyond the expectations of reproductive futurism. Through this protagonist in particular, Zangwill establishes an alternative, nonnormative model of age.

Keywords:English Literature, Victorian literature, fin de siecle, Age studies, Ageing, Queer
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q323 English Literature by topic
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q322 English Literature by author
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q321 English Literature by period
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:44327
Deposited On:12 Apr 2021 09:06

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