Read Out of Time: The Pleasures and the Perils of Ageing by Lynne Segal Elaine Showalter Online


A brave book with a polemical argument on the paradoxes, struggles and advantages of aging.How old am I? Don’t ask, don’t tell. As the baby boomers approach their sixth or seventh decade, they are faced with new challenges and questions of politics and identity. In the footsteps of Simone de Beauvoir, Out of Time looks at many of the issues facing the aged—the war of the gA brave book with a polemical argument on the paradoxes, struggles and advantages of aging.How old am I? Don’t ask, don’t tell. As the baby boomers approach their sixth or seventh decade, they are faced with new challenges and questions of politics and identity. In the footsteps of Simone de Beauvoir, Out of Time looks at many of the issues facing the aged—the war of the generations and baby-boomer bashing, the politics of desire, the diminished situation of the older woman, the space on the left for the presence and resistance of the old, the problems of dealing with loss and mortality, and how to find victory in survival....

Title : Out of Time: The Pleasures and the Perils of Ageing
Author :
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ISBN : 9781781682999
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Out of Time: The Pleasures and the Perils of Ageing Reviews

  • Sojourner
    2019-05-23 10:45

    It is much safer and easier to ask someone who’s in their sixties or seventies their age, something which we dare not ask someone who’s in the thirties or forties. Old age is not an easy thing. Someone once said, “Old age is not for sissies!”In a bold new book Out of Time: The Pleasures and Perils of Ageing, British academician Lynne Segal, who is a professor of psychology and gender studies at Birkbeck College, London, delves into the issue of aging in a passionate and striking manner, exploring both its pleasures and perils in a definitive study as she only can.Without mincing words, Segal discusses the fear of growing old which is not the attitude of some few people but the vast sea of humanity. Both a memoir and analysis, Segal also pointed that the process of aging is complex but not without its fair share of happiness. There are also the joys of love and sexuality as one grows older. It is a book that educates the reader on the subject of aging, and to view the aged with more understanding and compassion.

  • Anne Borrowdale
    2019-05-18 09:02

    Out of Time is a very interesting read, especially for those of us who studied or were involved in feminism through the 70s and 80s. Lynne Segal writes from perspective of a socialist feminist academic, who’s done valuable work on gender. Academic in parts, but Segal draws on a range of writers and poets, both male and female, as she ponders a question which is just as relevant in later life: “how should we live our lives?”This is a psychological and political perspective, about inner questions rather than failing bodies and minds: “I have been mainly concerned with the ways in which conceptions of the elderly impact upon self-perception, sapping confidence and making it harder to feel that we remain in charge of our lives as we age.” There is some discussion of older women in the media and in culture - the “monstrous old hag” or witch – but the book is not mainly concerned with that aspect. Segal also discusses briefly how ageing gets equated with failing health, and how feminists who used to object to narrow definitions of sex and beauty try to keep old age at bay by looking young and fit. There is an interesting section on sexuality in later life, highlighting the loss-of-virility narrative in fiction from male writers such as Roth, Updike and Amis. This fails to reflect many men’s experience, which includes being ‘comfortably partnered’. Segal challenges the narrative of the selfish baby-boomers, pointing out that the current recession has other causes, and that many boomers campaigned hard for a fairer society and social justice. All old people are clearly not the same. Some are very comfortably off, and some struggle with poverty. She points out that while 70s feminism did encourage women to assert themselves, it also talked a lot about the collective, and mutually supportive relationships. She extends this when she talks of accepting dependency in old age. We are all dependent on each other as human beings, and while we may have increased dependencies in old age, we also give back. Stories and quotes from older people permeate the book, showing writers, activists, carers, friends, and Segal herself, remaining engaged with the world and its causes even in poor health. There’s a moving chapter on bereavement, drawing on literature which helps us understand that loss is “not simply an experience to be surmounted but rather an event to live with.” I don't agree with every word and there are gaps - there’s little about being a parent or a child of elderly parents when we ourselves are old, for example. But it is a thought-provoking overview of aspects of women growing older, and the “possibilities for and impediments to staying alive to life itself, whatever our age”

  • Dierregi
    2019-05-25 05:51

    Not being an expert of feminist studies, I picked this book only because it sounded interesting. Old age is perhaps the last "taboo" topic (together with death). We all know that we either die young or grow old, but we prefer to avoid dwelling on either option.I was expecting a personal reflection of growing old and perhaps a bit more about the "pleasures". Obviously a book titled "Getting old mostly sucks" was not going to do good business. However, the content points out in that direction and it added very little about what I already figured out.Segal and most authors she quotes agree about the fact that getting old means losing almost everything: looks, health, sex drive, friends, family, work, etc… Some losses concern mostly women, such as youthful beauty. The majority of beautiful women never recover from this tragedy, because their looks are what they are valued for.The advantages and disadvantages of losing sex drive are also debated at length. This is the real tragedy for men, who either deny or defy their decreasing virility. Women are less concerned, but apparently they should be more. Some heavy pages deal with loss of autonomy, dependence, illness and loneliness and how important it is to create ties with the new generation. Unfortunately, this is quite difficult because the generation gap widened, due to the deteriorating economic situation.Segal acknowledge the fact that being wealthy helps to cope with aging and that "ignoring age" can be a useful strategy to manage, quoting Mick Jagger as one of lucky few good examples.From the introduction I learnt that Segal is a professor of psychology and gender studies and that she was involved with the feminist movement in the 70s. She is clearly well acquainted with Simone de Beauvoir, whose work is quoted throughout the book. References to many other authors are scattered throughout the book. This is what I found most disappointing, as if Segal needed somebody else's authority to support her theories.Due to the over abundance of quotes, I found the book slightly disappointing, besides being gloomy and the tittle misleading. Should have been: "Everything that will go wrong while (if) you age, according to an anthology of authors".

  • Rudy Oldeschulte
    2019-05-15 05:50

    Well written, strong statement, with an emphasis on feminist perpective... However, as one gets into the book, this emphasis lessens, making it far more readable (that is, without getting caught up in the argumentative style). Excellent knowledge base of feminist writers, psychoanalysis, and literature that touches on the quality and nuances of ageing. Her point - of re-positioning (or re-directing) our thoughts and perspective on ageing - is wonderfully made.

  • FIONA Norris
    2019-05-16 11:59

    We are all getting older; some of us, if we're lucky (think of the alternative..) are going to get really, seriously, incontrovertibly old. With big wrinkles. In our youth-obsessed culture, this is probably worth pointing out, especially to those who may think that the deeply considered and incisive thoughts on ageing contained in Segal's book do not apply to them; believe me, they will, and it may just be worth preparing yourself for the day that you look in the mirror and you find your mother/father looking back at you.Segal is a writer and respected academic, and her familiarity with the research process has resulted in a fascinating and wide ranging text ,of interest to both men and women ( although, really, I think that more women than men will read this) Drawing on sources from Art, Literature and contemporary culture, from Simone de Beauvoir to Jo Brand, for example, Segal looks at the psychology and politics of ageing. On a personal level, I really appreciated the detailed notes section, and have enjoyed reading some of the writers she references. I love it when one book leads to another.There is memoir here - Segal herself is on the lower slopes of old age - but if it's a memoir-only book you're looking for, you may be better trying Diana Athill; if you're prepared to be challenged, as well as touched, this may be right up your street.

  • Damaskcat
    2019-05-24 10:05

    Old age is regarded by many as something which happens to other people. We try and defy it by means of cosmetic surgery, dressing in the clothes we wore when young or in the latest fashions aimed at people in their twenties. Once they are over fifty many people report that they are invisible to most others and disregarded. The world seems to be organised round the young and the old and infirm are regarded as an unnacceptable drain on everyone's resources.But are there other ways of looking at old age? Having reached my seventh decade and starting to think that maybe I ought to investigate the subject, I find that I don't try and avoid my age. I'm a glass half full person and I look for the advantages and many of the writers quoted in this fascinating study and thought provoking study look for the advantages too. I have had many positive examples of old age from close relatives in my life so I tend to think of it in a different way. I live in an area where there are a high proportion of retired people and I am constantly presented with examples of people in their sixties, seventies or eighties getting around under their own steam and enjoying life apparently to the full.The author writes well and quotes many optimistic views of aspects of old age as well as many less optimistic views. Some even go so far as to say that anyone who can see good things about ageing much be morons or at the very least seriously deluded. This is a life affriming - and age affirming - book and it will cause anyone approaching their more mature years to examine their own hopes, views and fears of and for their own future. However it doesn't seek to gloss over the disadvantages and of course there are disadvantages to every age.There are notes to accompany the text and I'm sure many readers will find themselves launched on a journey of exploration into the subject of ageing and old age in literature, art, politics, sociology and psychology. If you want to find out how our leading writers, philosophers and celebrities have looked at old age - both good and bad - then read this book. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

  • Tara Brabazon
    2019-05-26 11:09

    Lynne Segal is a warrior. Throughout her distinguished academic, writing and activist career she has fought for social justice, talking on intricate and intimate topics, and broadening the parameters of public discourse.Segal was one of that extraordinary generation of Australians who 'fled' to the UK, away from the cultural cringe, tall poppies and suburban philistines. I often wonder what would have happened if they had stayed. They may not have been as personally or professionally successful, but Australia would have been a deeper, more textured and intellectually richer nation.In Out of Time, Segal has moved her intellectual gaze to ageing. This is an incredible book. Firstly, it is incredibly moving. I found myself in tears at least five times. The writing is so evocative. The melancholy is so deep. But it is a complex book. It is not combating ageing. It is not presenting the uplifting stories of people triumphing over the odds. Instead, it sits in 'the problem' of ageing and offers pathways and strategies to think about life, love, support and death. There is attention to both men and women. The disconnection of men from the workplace at retirement - alongside the bizarre viagra cultures that shadow older men - are explored. The solitude of women, that sometimes laps into loneliness, is revealed and gently probed. Yes, this is a book about sex and death, suffering and survival. But it a book that I - as a Generation Xer - took to heart. Appreciate each day. Enjoy the laughter. Occupy your time with relish and passion. And when deciding between ageing and death, it is still valuable to select the former. As my 85 year old mother reminds me, "you are dead a long time."

  • Ellyn Lem
    2019-05-26 10:47

    This book was referred to by many other sources I have been reading on aging, so I thought it was worth investigating myself. And it was. The style is very original...personal in places with some of her experiences being 60, but mostly, examining so many other literary sources for their reflections about getting old. While Segal mentions a few sources that have received a good deal of attention in aging studies like the work of May Sarton and Phillip Roth, she adds so many more to the mix, including theoretical"biggies" like Derrida, Barthes, Berger, Said, etc. The book has a slightly psychoanalytic bent to it, even as it brings in some terrible statements from Freud who thought "old people are no longer educable." She also brings in a feminist sensibility as she explains gendered differences regarding aging and shows that in literature, women show more hope about opportunities when growing old versus men like Roth and Amis, who fixate on masculine sexuality that might not be able to be sustained. Also valuable were Segal's points about socioeconomic status like her comment that "any source of optimism in old age requires a platform of economic security and well being." One of the most exciting aspects of reading this work is the recommendations for further reading that came as a result of her references. I will be checking out Julian Barnes' "Staring at the Sun," Penelope Lively's "Party," and the poetry of Elaine Feinstein. Definitely, a rich treasure trove this book.

  • Marisol García
    2019-05-19 11:00

    Da mucha pena que la vejez femenina siga siendo un gran tabú, incluso entre feministas. La descripción de ese espanto hace esta lectura un poco descorazonadora, pues probablemente no tenga solución (Simone de Beauvoir está en la portada porque fue una de las que con mayor desprecio escribió sobre el paso de la edad sobre su cuerpo). Es un texto luminoso, sin embargo, escrito por una mujer empática y que propone algunas miradas no de consuelo sino de reflexión. Qué duda cabe que también la vejez es un área en que se manifiesta una desventaja de género.

  • Judy
    2019-04-26 05:48

    Interesting discussion of the psychological impacts of aging. It is definitely not a "how-to-survive" book, but the author's reflections on aging and its psychological impacts. There are lots of quotes from fiction and poetry interspersed with findings from studies. The author is British so there are references from both the UK and the USA.

  • Sue Batcheler
    2019-05-14 07:48

    Interested enough to be taking notes! Either that or I'm not sure I'll remember it..Having now finished this book, I would definitely recommend it but with the rider that I did get irritated by the constant referencing to other writers. However, very thought provoking

  • Jeanne
    2019-05-17 08:06

    Really wonderful work that mixes memoir, literary criticism, philosophy and feminist thought to explore what it means to "age gracefully" especially as a woman.

  • Steven
    2019-04-26 09:46

    For as long as I can remember, I've been afraid of getting old. Not just old age itself, but the process. I am afraid of not getting where I am 'supposed' to be and that when old age arrives I'll be helpless and bitter. And after that, old age would be just disastrous. Now I'm a bit more hopeful. Reading how different people deal(t) with their own old age and the pleasures and displeasures it brought with them has made me, in some way, a bit less afraid and even a bit anxious (in a good way) of what old age (if I get to it, that is) will bring.Now, on the less self-centered side of things, it has made me see old people in a different light, and has made me think as how I should deal with my own immediate family when old age is upon them. We tend to look at older people as helpless and fragile, as if as soon someone passes certain age their agency and self-sufficiency is completely lost and can't think nor make decisions for themselves. Some of it might be true for people suffering from diseases that greatly affect their mental processes, but we have got to stop seeing old people as some kind of afterthought, or nuisance.Segal writes on many aspects of old age and how they are seen: the supposed generation war, where young and old are presented (not by Segal) as enemies; how love and intimate relationships change with age, as do the perspective on past opinions, positions and political contexts.I am sure I'll be revisiting this book in the decades to come, and recommend people, young and old to check it out.

  • Janet
    2019-05-22 11:55

    Inconclusive. LS roamed around the topic via literature. A thoughtful book, for slow musing rather than tangible insights.

  • Lori Kelly
    2019-05-10 08:49

    not as engaging and personal as Diana Athill. more theory, but applied vulnerable theory.

  • Hazel Croft
    2019-05-05 05:59

    This is a wonderful, insightful and compassionate meditation on ageing, exploring the meanings we create about about ageing and the meaning of our lives, encompassing themes of love, desire, friendship, loneliness, dependency, loss, grief and resistance.