Writing on Old Age

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For Slate, Laura Miller reviews the way old age is explored and rendered through literature, especially by those of old age themselves:

The essays in Alive, Alive Oh! resolve in a stubbornly untidy fashion; Athill rejects the unspoken, oppressively conventional “wisdom” that dominates the personal essay today. “My two valuable lessons are: avoid romanticism and abhor possessiveness,” she writes, in full, impish knowledge that is it impossible to follow such advice unless one is already temperamentally so inclined and that furthermore, no one—especially the young—wants to hear that they should be less romantic.


Olivia Wetzel is a student taking time off to live and work in San Francisco. If she could be any animal, she’d be a penguin. She’s never eaten pepperoni before, and one of her feet is a whole size bigger than the other. More from this author →