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Open Access 3 Love in Old Age

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3 Love in Old Age

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Chapter Summary

This chapter talks about aged writers who acknowledge themselves as subject to desire while questioning the binary old-versus-young views. By finding new ways to articulate such commonplaces, their self-portraits had the capacity to disrupt these dichotomies and the "systems of thought" within which they worked. Petrarch addressed these questions within a Christian framework; with the graying of the courts and salons of the sixteenth century, the posture of the aged lover led Ronsard, Montaigne, and Pasquier to raise issues concerning social behavior, and to challenge the assumptions of the alternative between the lustful or the chaste old man. All four authors introduced nuance and leeway into rigid habits of thought epitomized by age stereotypes, and represented themselves as both old and young at the same time. The emphasis is on their respective attitudes toward their vocation as writers, rather than on their eventual psychological development.

Keywords: Christian framework; Montaigne; old age; Pasquier; Petrarch; Ronsard



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