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Open Access 4 Then and Now

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4 Then and Now

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Chapter Summary

Reading renaissance self-portraits invites us to reweave our collective cultural past into the present. This chapter examines these evolving attitudes in the dynamics of time, and discusses three types of connections between "then" and "now". First, an ambitious research project from the end of the twentieth century, focusing on the care of the aging self, allows us to think about health issues in a diachronic perspective. Second, the chapter analyzes the heuristic function of Erasmus's colloquium The Old Men's Chat or the Carriage and sees how this text opens itself up to spiritual, social, and psychological perspectives on the aging process that are still relevant today. Third, Petrarch's and Montaigne's self-portraits in later life provide us with insights on the aging self's multiple identities. Montaigne's and Petrarch's self-portraits confirm that if aging gracefully is a way of life, it is also a mode of discourse.

Keywords: Erasmus's colloquium; health issues; Montaigne's self-portrait; Petrarch's self-portrait



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