Old Age in Greek and Latin Literature

Edited by Thomas M. Falkner & Judith deLuce

Subjects: Classics
Series: SUNY series in Classical Studies
Hardcover : 9780791400302, 260 pages, July 1989
Paperback : 9780791400319, 260 pages, July 1989

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Table of contents



Introduction: The Elderly in Classical Antiquity
M. I. Finley

1. Homeric Heroism, Old Age and the End of the Odyssey
Thomas M. Falkner

2. Tithonos and the Tettix
Helen King

3. Old Men in the Youthful Plays of Aristophanes
Thomas K. Hubbard

4. The Wrath of Alcmene: Gender, Authority and Old Age in Euripides' Children of Heracles
Thomas M. Falkner

5. "Do Not Go Gently . .." Oedipus at Colonus and the Psychology of Aging
Thomas Van Nortwick

6. The Ashes and the Flame: Passion and Aging In Classical Poetry
Stephen Bertman

7. Horace's Old Girls: Evolution of a Topos
Carol Clemeau Esler

8. The Old Man in the Garden: Georgic 4. 116-148
Jenny Strauss Clay

9. Ovid as an Idiographic Study of Creativity and Old Age
Judith de Luce

Afterword: When Fields Collide or A View from Gerontology
Mildred M. Seltzer

Bibliography: Old Age in Greco-Roman Anitquity and Early Christianity: An Annotated Select Bibliography
Emiel Eyben




This volume explores the significance of old age in Greek and Latin poetry and dramatic literature, not just in relation to other textual and historical concerns, but as a cultural and intellectual reality of central importance to understanding the works themselves. The book discusses a wide range of authors, from Homer to Aristophanes, Sophocles, and Euripides; from Horace to Vergil, Ovid, and beyond. Classical scholarship on these texts is enriched by a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives drawn from such fields as anthropology, social history, literary theory, psychology, and gerontology. The contributions examine the many and complex representations of old age in classical literature: their relation to the social and psychological realities of old age, their connection with the author's own place in the human life course, their metaphorical and symbolic capacity as poetic vehicles for social and ethical values.

Thomas M. Falkner is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio. Judith de Luce is Associate Professor and Chair of Classics and an Affiliate in Women's Studies at Miami University in Ohio.


"In a manner reminiscent of the emergence of the feminist perspective in scholarship two decades ago, data that has always been there is being freshly examined and is yielding new conclusions. The scholarship here is as powerful and rigorous as it is humane. " — John Peradotto, State University of New York at Buffalo

"The writers illuminate many genres of literature and the creative process itself in reference to the human realities and struggles of old age. In so doing, they combine modesty with sophistication of theory. This results in very perceptive treatments of certain works. " — Kenneth J. Reckford, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill