Wrinkled Deep in Time: Aging in Shakespeare

Kobo ebook | June 1, 2010

byMaurice Charney

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Shakespeare was acutely aware of our intimate struggles with aging. His dramatic characters either prosper or suffer according to their relationship with maturity, and his sonnets eloquently explore time's ravaging effects. "Wrinkled deep in time" is how the queen describes herself in Antony and Cleopatra , and at the end of King Lear , there is a tragic sense that both the king and Gloucester have acquired a wisdom they otherwise lacked at the beginning of the play. Even Juliet matures considerably before she drinks Friar Lawrence's potion, and Macbeth and his wife prematurely grow old from their murderous schemes. Drawing on historical documents and the dramatist's own complex depictions, Maurice Charney conducts an original investigation into patterns of aging in Shakespeare, exploring the fulfillment or distress of Shakespeare's characters in combination with their mental and physical decline. Comparing the characterizations of elderly kings and queens, older lovers, patriarchal men, matriarchal women, and the senex& mdash;the stereotypical old man of Roman comedy& mdash;with the history of life expectancy in Shakespeare's England, Charney uncovers similarities and differences between our contemporary attitudes toward aging and aging as it was understood more than four hundred years ago. From this dynamic examination, a new perspective on Shakespeare emerges, one that celebrates and deepens our knowledge of his subtler themes and characters.

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From the Publisher

Shakespeare was acutely aware of our intimate struggles with aging. His dramatic characters either prosper or suffer according to their relationship with maturity, and his sonnets eloquently explore time's ravaging effects. "Wrinkled deep in time" is how the queen describes herself in Antony and Cleopatra , and at the end of King Lear ...

Maurice Charney is Distinguished Professor of English at Rutgers University and past president of the Shakespeare Association of America. He is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including Columbia University Press's All of Shakespeare and Shakespeare on Love and Lust.

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Format:Kobo ebookPublished:June 1, 2010Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231520891

ISBN - 13:9780231520898

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. King Lear, Titus Andronicus, and Cymbeline
2. The Aging Process, with Special Reference to Macbeth
3. Time the Destroyer in the Sonnets and The Rape of Lucrece
4. "Heavy" Fathers
5. Politic Old Men: Polonius, Nestor, and Menenius
6. Wise Old Men
7. Falstaff
8. Jealous Old Men: Othello and Leontes
9. Old Warriors and Statesmen in the English History Plays
10. Fatal Attraction: Antony and Cleopatra
11. Powerful Older Women
12. Loving Older Women
13. Lusty Older Women
Conclusion
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

Offers insights about Shakespeare's attitude toward aging and his own growing old...highly recommended.