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Frontiers of Narrative Studies

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Fantastic reversals of time: Representations of ageing in the fantastic mode

Heike Hartung
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  • University of Potsdam, Department of English and American Studies, Am Neuen Palais 10, 14469 Potsdam, GermanyUniversity of PotsdamDepartment of English and American StudiesAm Neuen Palais 1014469 PotsdamGermany
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Published Online: 2017-11-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/fns-2017-0022


The focus of the essay is the question how the genre of fantasy affects age narratives in terms of the representation of old age. Analyzing George McDonald’s “Little Daylight” (1864), Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s “Good Lady Ducayne” (1896) and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The curious case of Benjamin Button” (1921), I will argue that the mode of the fantastic serves to open up alternative visions of time and ageing. These age fantasies serve different cultural functions, both by reinforcing contemporary age stereotypes and by envisioning possible counter-narratives of old age. On a discursive level, I will compare the problems with representing old age, its contradictions and ambiguities, to the internal oppositions of the fantastic genre.

Keywords: Age studies; the Fantastic; narrative theory


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-11-28

Published in Print: 2017-11-23

Citation Information: Frontiers of Narrative Studies, Volume 3, Issue 2, Pages 336–359, ISSN (Online) 2509-4890, ISSN (Print) 2509-4882, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/fns-2017-0022.

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