“Everyone is Romeo and Juliet!” Staging dementia in Wellkåmm to Verona by Suzanne Osten

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This paper examines the intertextual dialog between Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet (1595) and the Swedish film Wellkåmm to Verona (2006) by Suzanne Osten. In the film adaptation, Verona no longer refers to an ancient town in Northern Italy that tries to control its passionate youth. Instead, it is the name of a residential home for older people where the dementia-afflicted Walter, former director of the Swedish Royal Theatre, stages Romeo and Juliet with his co-residents. The article explores the question what the film can do to its viewers in terms of overcoming the stigma attached to dementia. It focuses on the formal strategies that the film adaptation makes use of to imagine people with dementia other than lost selves during the staging of the canonical love story, ultimately entwining Eros and Thanatos.

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... Books and films about dementia almost all told a story of progressive decline and death, ending in institutionalisation [25,51,52,83], or the death of the person with dementia [28,29,34,35,41,43,44,51,53,54,58,80]. Many books and films depicted the progression of declining ability to comprehend the world, and conduct self-care. ...
... In 12 of 23 movies, the person with dementia is shown as having something to contribute socially [49]. Fictional characters were shown as solving crime cases [51], committing planned burglaries [52], starting new romantic relationships [44,45], directing and performing in a play [44]. People with dementia including in the later stages of dementia were shown as expressing love through words, hugging, kissing and other physical signs of affection [24,36,47,49]. ...
... In 12 of 23 movies, the person with dementia is shown as having something to contribute socially [49]. Fictional characters were shown as solving crime cases [51], committing planned burglaries [52], starting new romantic relationships [44,45], directing and performing in a play [44]. People with dementia including in the later stages of dementia were shown as expressing love through words, hugging, kissing and other physical signs of affection [24,36,47,49]. ...
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Background Literature, film and news media reflect and shape social perceptions of dementia which in turn impact on dementia stigma. The aim of this paper is to systematically review papers on the depiction and frames for dementia in literature, film, mass media and social media in order to better understand cultural stigma related to dementia. Methods A systematic search of electronic databases was undertaken combining phrases relating to dementia, popular culture and representations, and phrases relating to dementia and stigma. We searched for scientific English language papers which included original analysis on the representation or depiction of dementia in popular culture (i.e. in film and television, literature, news, social media and language). Articles published between 1989–2018 were included. The search was conducted in December 2017 and updated in January 2019. Inductive thematic synthesis was undertaken. Results A total of 60 articles were included from an initial sample of 37022. Dementia was almost always depicted in conjunction with ageing, and often equated with Alzheimer’s disease. Common frames for dementia were biomedical - dementia involves the deterioration of the brain for which there is no current cure; natural disaster or epidemic - dementia is a force of nature which will overwhelm mankind; and living dead – people with dementia lose their brains, memories, minds and consequently their personhood and human rights. There were examples of more positive depictions of dementia including expressing love and individual agency and experiencing personal growth. Feelings commonly associated with dementia were fear, shame, compassion and guilt, and depictions often resulted in a sense of social distance. Conclusions Depictions of dementia in popular culture are associated with negative images and feelings, and social distance between people with dementia and those without. These correspond to dementia stigma in the public and as experienced by people with dementia. Further research is needed into the impact of literature, news and social media on dementia stigma and these cultural mediums might be used to reduce stigma.
... Alternatively, Anderson (2010) did find Iris to generate feelings of empathy, hope, and acceptance. Swinnen (2012aSwinnen ( , 2012b, like Anderson, investigated what films (Welcome to Verona (Osten, released in 2008); Mum (Roosen, released in 2009)) can do for viewers and concluded both provide evidence of personhood in dementia. ...
... Additionally, movies may reinforce unrealistic expectations of someone with dementia. Especially misleading are the moments of full lucidity, described by Swinnen (2012b) as 'the love miracle', which connect to the (false) hope that many caregivers have of returning to their loved one the memory of their relationship. Interestingly, studies into other mental conditions and the media have contrasting results, describing sensationalized reports of persons with mental conditions (Klin & Lemish, 2008). ...
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Objectives: Visual media influence the general public's perceptions and attitudes regarding people with mental conditions. This qualitative study investigates the depiction accuracy of dementia's clinical features in motion pictures. Method: Using the search terms 'dementia', 'Alzheimer's disease' and 'senility' movies with release dates between January 2000 and March 2012 were sought on the Internet Movie Database. Based on four selection criteria 23 movies were included. Independently, three researchers watched all movies, scored symptoms, capacities, and behaviors. Scores were discussed and refined during consensus meetings, resulting in a taxonomy of clinical features. Results: Various features are found, most often cognitive symptoms. Behavioral features are also shown - retiring behavior more than agitation - and various emotions, but physical symptoms are rarely depicted. Capacities are infrequently presented and are unrealistic in several of the movies. Conclusion: The clinical picture of dementia portrayed in fictional movies is mild and may be misleading.
... Following the title and abstract review, 682 articles were excluded as they did not meet the inclusion criteria. After reviewing the full text of the remaining 34 articles, 13 studies were excluded for the following reasons ( Figure 1): commentary or review rather than research article (Hand, 2018;Lundquist & Ready, 2015;Mukadam & Livingston, 2009;Swinnen, 2012); interventions focused on addressing timely dementia diagnosis not stigma (Brooker, La Fontaine, Evans, Bray, & Saad, 2014;Devoy & Simpson, 2017;Edwards, Voss & Iliffe, 2014); interventions to address education not stigma (Palmer et al., 2014); interventions focused on the benefits for people living with dementia not on reducing stigma (Beard, Knauss, & Moyer, 2009;Bienvenu & Hanna, 2017;Greenwood, Gordon, Pavlou, & Bolton, 2018; Phinney, Kelson, Baumbusch, O'Connor, & Purves, 2016); and not available in the English language (Kaduszkiewicz, Rontgen, Mossakowski, & van den Bussche, 2009). After the full text review, 21 articles were included in the scoping review (see Figure 1). ...
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Despite its global importance and the recognition of dementia as an international public health priority, interventions to reduce stigma of dementia are a relatively new and emerging field. The purpose of this review was to synthesize the existing literature and identify key components of interventions to reduce stigma of dementia. We followed Arksey and O’Malley’s scoping review process to examine peer-reviewed literature of interventions to reduce dementia-related stigma. A stigma-reduction framework was used for classifying the interventions: education (dispel myths with facts), contact (interact with people with dementia), mixed (education and contact), and protest (challenge negative attitudes). From the initial 732 references, 21 studies were identified for inclusion. We found a variety of education, contact, and mixed interventions ranging from culturally tailored films to intergenerational choirs. Findings from our review can inform the development of interventions to support policies, programs, and practices to reduce stigma and improve the quality of life for people with dementia.
... Wallander solves his final case in spite of his diagnosis, and the series ends with his retirement party, on a note, if not of hope, of qualified acceptance. Similarly, Swinnen (2012) notes that in the Swedish film Wellkåmm to Verona, the main character, a man with dementia, maintains a unique identity and varied social roles including those of skilled seducer, convincing actor, and persistent lover. ...
... In the context of cinema films, the explicit portrayal of the clinical picture of dementia has been found to be fairly accurate but with an emphasis on cognitive symptoms, fluctuations of consciousness and disengaged behaviour (Gerritsen, Kuin, & Nijboer, 2014) and a failure to portray people with dementia as active agents. Drawing on Post's (1995) description of hyper-cognitivism, Swinnen (2012) reflects on the possibility that films contribute towards maintaining the stigma of dementia and to people's perception of a dissolution of the self through their emphasis on cognitive difficulties (such as language and memory). In depicting a personal, inescapable tragedy, including in their relationships with other people, this may strengthen the objectification of people with dementia. ...
The way we perceive and portray dementia has implications for how we act towards people with dementia and how we address the issue of dementia within society. As a multi-disciplinary working group, established within the framework of the European Dementia Ethics Network of Alzheimer Europe, we aimed to describe the different ways that people with dementia are perceived and portrayed within society and to consider the moral implications of this. In the current paper, we address perceptions of dementia as reflected in explanatory models of its cause and nature, descriptions of characteristics of people with dementia, the use of language, media portrayals and the views of people living with dementia. Academics and professionals could use this exploration to reflect on their behaviour and their use of language regarding people with dementia.
... Aging studies scholars with a humanities background have mostly focused on analyzing how dementia is represented in diverse cultural texts, such as literature and film (e.g. Burke, 2007;Cohen-Shalev, 2012;Swinnen, 2012aSwinnen, , 2012bWearing, 2013;Zeilig, 2014). I find it timely that they turn their attention to the study of cultural art interventions, which offers the opportunity to engage with older people themselves and find out where significant contributions can be made from their unique expertise. ...
The personhood movement in dementia research has established the theoretical foundation for implementing cultural arts interventions in care practices. The underlying assumption is that professionals from the visual and the performance arts are well equipped to see the person behind the condition and to focus on possibilities for meaningful relationships in the here and now. This article focuses on poetry interventions as one example of cultural arts interventions. The use of poetry might seem counterintuitive, given that people with dementia lose their language abilities and that poetry is regarded to be the most complex literary form. I will argue that expanding on existing research on poetry interventions from a health and science perspective with a humanities approach will help illuminate how poetry works to enhance the exchange with people with dementia. Drawing on participant observations of poetry interventions by Gary Glazner (Alzheimer's Poetry Project, USA) at the New York Memory Center, I will frame poetry interventions as a specific form of oral poetry in which people with dementia are positioned as cocreators of embodied texts and directly benefit from the power of the spoken word. © The Author(s) 2014 Reprints and permissions:
Los estudios sobre el envejecimiento son una disciplina relativamente nueva cuya intersección con la teoría fílmica feminista puede conducir a importantes replanteamientos metodológicos y teóricos, siendo uno fundamental: la concepción del cine como una poderosa tecnología de la edad. Este ensayo ofrece un panorama del etarismo que ha impregnado las sociedades occidentales con relación al lugar que tanto el envejecimiento como las cuestiones de género han ocupado en la cultura visual. A la luz de planteamientos feministas contemporáneas sobre el envejecimiento y las narrativas del envejecimiento, este ensayo tiene por objeto proponer posibles nuevas direcciones que el cine y la teoría fílmica feminista pueden tomar como parte de un nuevo marco epistemológico. De la misma manera, también explora nuevos paradigmas teóricos a través de perspectivas interseccionales para deconstruir el etarismo de la industria cinematográfica. Finalmente, al centrarse en narrativas sobre el envejecimiento femenino en producciones cinematográficas no hegemónicas, este ensayo propone alejarse de los planteamientos binarios de decadencia/éxito, y sugiere formas afirmativas de mirar los cuerpos que envejecen y de comprender el envejecimiento.
This chapter investigates the French crime film Cortex and the Dutch thriller The Memory of a Killer, in which the main characters are male. Using an approach based on questions of masculinity, ageing, and agency, and drawing on discussions around masculinity in thrillers, crime films, and film noir, this chapter highlights the techniques used by these films to enable the viewer to experience the subjectivity of a person living with Alzheimer’s disease. It also shows how Alzheimer’s disease is employed as a device with which to create suspense. Finally, this chapter illustrates the notion of personhood emerging from these films.
This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical framework on which the analyses of the films are based and explains the book’s intersectional character. From the perspective of ageing studies, key concepts such as old age, ageing, and ageism are defined. This chapter also links stereotypes of old age with those that throughout the centuries have been attached to dementia. It illustrates the impact that the medicalisation of dementia has had on people living with dementia, and highlights a notion of dementia that obliterates the subject, who calls for constant care. It finishes with an outline of how Alzheimer’s disease has been represented in films across cultures.
Visuele media beïnvloeden de perceptie en attitude van het grote publiek over mensen met psychische aandoeningen. Deze kwalitatieve studie onderzocht de kwaliteit van de weergave van klinische kenmerken van dementie in bioscoopfilms. Aan de hand van de zoektermen ‘dementie’, ‘Alzheimer’ en ‘ouderen’ werden films gezocht op de Internet Movie Database, uitgebracht tussen januari 2000 en maart 2012. Er werden 23 films geselecteerd op basis van vier selectiecriteria. Drie onderzoekers bekeken de films en scoorden symptomen, capaciteiten en gedrag onafhankelijk van elkaar. Scores werden bediscussieerd en verfijnd tijdens consensusbesprekingen, wat resulteerde in een taxonomie van klinische kenmerken. Er zijn met name cognitieve symptomen gevonden. Gedragskenmerken werden door de films ook in beeld gebracht - teruggetrokken gedrag meer dan agitatie -, evenals verschillende emoties, maar fysieke symptomen werden zelden afgebeeld. Capaciteiten werden zelden getoond en waren onrealistisch in verschillende films. Het klinische beeld van dementie in bioscoopfilms is mild en kan misleidend zijn.
This article approaches Judi Dench's role as M in the long-running James Bond series from a gender and ageing studies' perspective and explores this character's subversion of normative concepts of gender and temporality. Based on the assumption that cultural narratives shape our understanding of ageing, it examines how M disrupts prescribed age- and gender roles, presenting an alternative within films which otherwise perpetuate normative notions of a sexualised, youthful femininity. It focusses on Dench's return as M in Casino Royale (2006), as an instance of anachronism (Russo, 1999), subverting viewers' expectation of linear timelines and examines M's challenge of normative age-appropriateness in Skyfall (2012). Despite M's portrayal as a more vulnerable female character in the latter, this article presents her character as an alternative to traditional portrayals of older women on screen.
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Cultural responses to most illnesses differ; dementia is no exception. These responses, together with a society's attitudes toward its elderly population, affect the frequency of dementia-related diagnoses and the nature of treatment. Bringing together essays by nineteen respected scholars, this unique volume approaches the subject from a variety of angles, exploring the historical, psychological, and philosophical implications of dementia. Based on solid ethnographic fieldwork, the essays employ a cross-cultural perspective and focus on questions of age, mind, voice, self, loss, temporality, memory, and affect. Taken together, the essays make four important and interrelated contributions to our understanding of the mental status of the elderly. First, cross-cultural data show the extent to which the aging process, while biologically influenced, is also very much culturally constructed. Second, detailed ethnographic reports raise questions about the behavioral criteria used by health care professionals and laymen for defining the elderly as demented. Third, case studies show how a diagnosis affects a patient's treatment in both clinical and familial settings. Finally, the collection highlights the gap that separates current biological understandings of aging from its cultural meanings. As Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia continue to command an ever-increasing amount of attention in medicine and psychology, this book will be essential reading for anthropologists, social scientists, and health care professionals. Copyright © 2006 by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. All rights reserved.
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Scholars and activists within the fields of disability and age studies have fought hard to have disabled individuals of all ages recognized as people with disabilities, rather than a class of the disabled or the old. These two broad cat- egories are peopled with individuals with life experiences and opinions, not just needs demanding attention. To better understand the experience of dis- ability, scholars and activists call for the voices of the disabled, for their stories to be told and heard. But such a call also presents us with several challenges. How can the voices of the disabled be heard—particularly the voices of people with cognitive impairments or severe physical impairments? In what forms can and do their voices have meaning? Might certain forms of narrative and modes of performance actually support ideals of independence and selfhood that fuel fears of disability in the first place? What can the stories of the dis- abled tell us about the very meaning of the "self"? 1
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Charles S. Peirce’s theory of proper names bears helpful insights for how we might think about his understanding of persons. Persons, on his view, are continuities, not static objects. I argue that Peirce’s notion of the legisign, particularly proper names, sheds light on the habitual and conventional elements of what it means to be a person. In this paper, I begin with an account of what philosophers of language have said about proper names in order to distinguish Peirce’s theory of proper names from them. Then, I present Peirce’s semiotic theory of proper names, followed by some ways in which his theory can be applied to practical concerns, such as first impressions, name changing, identity, and temporary insanity.
This resource brings together philosophers and psychiatrists to explore the conceptual issues raised by this increasingly common illness. Drawing on a variety of philosophers, the authors explore the nature of personal identity in dementia, showing how the lives and selfhood of people with dementia can be enhanced by attention to their psychosocial and spritual environment.
Popular films have always included elderly characters, but until recently, old age only played a supporting role onscreen. Now, as the Baby Boomer population hits retirement, there has been an explosion of films, including Away From Her, The Straight Story, The Barbarian Invasions, and About Schmidt, where aging is a central theme. The first-ever sustained discussion of old age in cinema, The Silvering Screen brings together theories from disability studies, critical gerontology, and cultural studies, to examine how the film industry has linked old age with physical and mental disability. Sally Chivers further examines Hollywood's mixed messages - the applauding of actors who portray the debilitating side of aging, while promoting a culture of youth - as well as the gendering of old age on film. The Silvering Screen makes a timely attempt to counter the fear of aging implicit in these readings by proposing alternate ways to value getting older.
A. D. Nuttall's study of Shakespeare's intellectual preoccupations is a literary tour de force and comes to crown the distinguished career of a Shakespeare scholar. Certain questions engross Shakespeare from his early plays to the late romances: the nature of motive, cause, personal identity and relation, the proper status of imagination, ethics and subjectivity, language and its capacity to occlude and to communicate. Yet Shakespeare's thought, Nuttall demonstrates, is anything but static. The plays keep returning to, modifying, and complicating his creative preoccupations. Nuttall allows us to hear and appreciate the emergent cathedral choir of play speaking to play. By the later stages of Nuttall's book this choir is nearly overwhelming in its power and dimensions. The author does not limit discussion to moments of crucial intellection but gives himself ample space in which to get at the distinctive essence of each work. Much recent historicist criticism has tended to "flatten" Shakespeare by confining him to the thought-clichés of his time, and this in its turn has led to an implicitly patronizing view of him as unthinkingly racist, sexist, and so on. Nuttall shows us that, on the contrary, Shakespeare proves again and again to be more intelligent and perceptive than his 21st-century readers. This book challenges us to reconsider the relation of great literature to its social and historical matrix. It is also, perhaps, the best guide to Shakespeare's plays available in English.
SCENE 1: It was my first day of observation at a small psychogeriatric outpatient clinic, part of the Institute of Psychiatry at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). This was one of my field sites for my study of the psychiatry of aging. In came the first patient, a small, friendly woman of sixty-four. She sat down in front of the attending psychiatrist, Dr. Fisz, and told him in a coherent manner that lately she had been feeling constantly depressed. She explained that her family had once been large, but now the kids had left home and her husband did not like to go out. "I withdrew from life." The psychiatrist asked her questions about her general health and requested that she come back for a battery of medical and neuropsychological tests, an electroencephalogram ("just in case"), and some blood tests. He prescribed an antidepressant and recommended that she attended a church group. He told me, after she had left, that he was considering the possibility of Alzheimer's disease, something that astonished me, since the woman's narrative had made sense to me and her selfdiagnosis of depression fit exactly into my lay diagnostic schema. SCENE 2: Some weeks later, a Canadian visitor came to the clinic. She was a social psychologist responsible for a World Health Organization (WHO) project in Brazil. She accompanied me one morning to observe some psychogeriatric treatments. A resident in psychiatry was applying the CAMDEX (Cambridge Examination for Mental Disorders of the Elderly) neuropsychological test (Roth et al. 1986 ) to an older woman who was sitting at a small table with her daughter. The young resident was charming and the patients liked her, but she was a bit bored by the repetitive task of administering the test to almost everybody who came to the clinic. After giving us permission to observe the session, the resident continued with her task, but interrupted the test to explain to the Canadian visitor the elderly woman's condition. Embarrassing details of the patient's life and "misbehavior" were revealed as if the person about whom she was speaking was not even present. The Canadian visitor was visibly shocked and tried to stop the explanation, but was reassured by the resident that it was all right. SCENE 3: Very soon it became evident to me that many Brazilian family caregivers located the origins of Alzheimer's disease in the affected person's life, a hard life with which the person was not able to deal (Leibing 1997, 2002a).4 I mentioned this at the weekly sessão clínica at the Institute of Psychiatry, where that week a case of dementia was being discussed by doctors, other health professionals, and students. One of the psychiatrists stood up and told me that he doubted my account, since he saw numerous patients and no one had ever brought this up with him.
This chapter is about the cultural work that dementia does, the sociomedical uses to which it is put in the American hospital at the end of life. I suggest that dementia works there in three ways: as a rationale for facilitating death, as a contested feature of what matters about the patient's identity, and as a moralclinical designation of value when a frail life is perceived to hang in the balance. In performing this multiplex work, dementia makes manifest one aspect of the ethics and politics of life itself in the negotiations it elicits about "quality of life," "loss of personhood" and "diminishing life"; in debates about what constitutes "normal" and "natural" decline toward death; and in cultural ambivalence about whether the end of "meaningful life" is reason enough for death.1 Dementia has entered the domain of choice; to confront dementia is to be faced with options for maximizing function, minimizing suffering, and organizing care. Decision making is inevitable. Moreover, dementia, as a mutable category of knowledge and cultural form, obscures the distinction between life and death. In its various stages- early, moderate, advanced, severe, and end-stage-dementia is a condition both of death-in-life and of life-in-death. This ambiguity becomes more profound as the disease progresses, and it lies at the heart of the anguish about what to do. This ambiguity is what makes dementia so compelling for families; so unnerving in the context of the cultural importance of memory, control, and reason; and so unsettling to the existing order of things. As with other medical sites in which productive technologies are scrutinized by ethnographers, dementia-near-death brings together biomedical and socioeconomic features of contemporary American health-care in novel ways to permit and create a further remapping of the notions of life, person, and value.2 Specifically, the normalization of clinical techniques to control the timing of death, the ubiquitous structural imperative of patient and family decision making, quandaries about the relation of the person to the body when disease masks or destroys normal consciousness, disputes about the goals of medicine when the end of life is imminent, and the fact that clinical interventions are possible up to the moment of death all converge at this site. That convergence has multiple effects. For example, a new kind of patient population is produced. The ethics of medical and familial responsibility are further complicated. Canguilhem's prediction that "the science of life no longer resembles a portrait of life" (1994, 317) is a useful starting point for thinking about dementia as a form of cultural production and, more broadly, for adding to an anthropology of "life itself." In their histories of the modern life sciences, Canguilhem and Michel Foucault point out that the concept of life, as a specific object of knowledge, to be known through the modern biological sciences, did not exist until the end of the nineteenth century. Foucault writes, "Historians want to write histories of biology in the nineteenth century; but they do not realize that biology did not exist then, and that the pattern of knowledge that has been familiar to us for a hundred and fifty years is not valid for a previous period. And that if biology was unknown, there was a very simple reason for it: that life itself did not exist. All that existed was living beings, which were viewed through a grid of knowledge constituted by natural history" (1970, 128; italics added). The idea that life as a process, mechanism, and structure could be studied (and perhaps ultimately understood) owes its emergence to the rise of theories of evolution and owes its expansion to concepts formed through the sciences, first physiology, and more recently molecular biology and genetics (Canguilhem 1994; Franklin 1995). Importantly, by the mid- to late twentieth century, knowledge of the living body and the forms and structures that constitute life, especially DNA or the genetic code, "became intrinsically linked to interventions that transformed those living bodies" (Rose 2001). Life, health, illness categories, and death were objects to be acted on via the instrumentalization techniques that the biological sciences and clinical medicine offered (Franklin 2000; Rabinow 1996, 2000). Here I explore how cultural meanings about aging, senescence, dementing illness, and the "natural" life span are inscribed in biological materiality and the biomedical techniques that enable us to know what life is. The biological and biomedical, in turn, shape understandings of how the person with dementia is bodily (that is, fundamentally) constituted and provide moral and socioeconomic frames for the range of interventions. Uttered today as a gloss for any neurological condition that slowly or rapidly destroys cognition, memory, reflexivity, and expressive capacity, dementia is a modern form of life itself, in the sense that biomedical and related apparatuses are brought to bear on a diag nosed condition, transforming "living beings" into victims, patients, and research subjects with a degenerative brain disease and rationalizing a host of management strategies.
The prevailing paradigm of Alzheimer's disease is founded upon an assumption that memory impairment caused by cognitive deficiencies leads to a steady loss of the self with the concomitant erosion of individual agency. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to critical gerontology a notion of embodiment and to explore how this constitutes a challenge to the presumed loss of agency in Alzheimer's disease. The critical perspective on the body that I advocate informs my analysis of excerpts from both fictional and nonfictional accounts of the experience of Alzheimer's disease as well as of the controversy surrounding the late paintings of abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning, paintings that were produced in the face of his progressing Alzheimer's disease.
This article affirms the view that literature transmits multiple reflections on human life that shape social mores. Examining stereotypes of age in literature as socially constructed artifacts reveals the prevailing attitudes toward aging during that time. This study focuses on the aging Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar and in George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra. Writing 300 years apart, these two great playwrights inscribe both positive and negative models of aging, reflecting views in their eras that persist today. This article identifies these models, then explores them from a Lacanian standpoint, showing that each dramatist focuses on Caesar's ego development through the opinions of other characters. Offering a primarily negative view of aging, Shakespeare emphasizes the fragmented mirror images that other characters hold up to Caesar. Shaw self-consciously counters Shakespeare by foregrounding Caesar as subject, who beholds his aging self in the mirror of others' opinions while enacting a positive model of aging. Tracing this long tradition of aging stereotypes found in the two plays can be useful as scholars continue to reconstruct society's attitudes toward aging.
Abstract Many cultures have distinguished between biological and social death, the latter usually occurring some time after the former. More recently social death has been noted to occur before biological death in terminally ill comatose patients. This paper presents the results of an exploratory study which examined the extent to which social death may occur before biological death among elderly people with dementia. One hundred semi-structured interviews were conducted with the caregiving relatives of dementia sufferers. Ratings were made of the degree to which carers appeared to believe their dementing dependent was socially (or ‘as good as’) dead, as well as note taken of behaviour suggesting that they had discounted the sufferer in social terms. In over one third of caregiving relatives there was evidence of both beliefs and behaviours suggesting that a degree of social death had occurred before the sufferer's biological death. Almost all those categorised as behaving towards a sufferer as if they were socially dead expressed beliefs indicating that this was how the sufferer was perceived. However, perceiving a sufferer in ways which could be characterised as socially dead was not necessarily combined with behaving as though they were. Examples of degrees of social death are presented and discussed against the background of increasing numbers of dementia sufferers in modern Western societies.
Critics recently have focused attention on the roles of race and gender in Shakespeare''s Othello, examining how the play interrogates social norms and disagreeing over whether those norms ultimately are subverted or upheld. However, in focusing on the play''s Caucasian, patriarchal society, critics have largely overlooked the textual issue of age: Othello and Desdemona are separated by as much as a generation. The mature Othello would bring to mind for early modern audiences several theatrical and social conventions, from the Roman comedic tradition to the role of the aged cuckold. These conventions generally are challenged in the early part of the play, then upheld in later acts as Othello descends into Iago''s alternative reality. This article demonstrates how early modern views of age and aging work with racial stereotypes both to ennoble the character of Othello and to destroy him.
In order to explore the impact of a degraded semantic system on the structure of language production, we analysed transcripts from autobiographical memory interviews to identify naturally-occurring speech errors by eight patients with semantic dementia (SD) and eight age-matched normal speakers. Relative to controls, patients were significantly more likely to (a) substitute and omit open class words, (b) substitute (but not omit) closed class words, (c) substitute incorrect complex morphological forms and (d) produce semantically and/or syntactically anomalous sentences. Phonological errors were scarce in both groups. The study confirms previous evidence of SD patients’ problems with open class content words which are replaced by higher frequency, less specific terms. It presents the first evidence that SD patients have problems with closed class items and make syntactic as well as semantic speech errors, although these grammatical abnormalities are mostly subtle rather than gross. The results can be explained by the semantic deficit which disrupts the representation of a pre-verbal message, lexical retrieval and the early stages of grammatical encoding.
This article examines the narrative construction of Alzheimer's disease in three autobiographies. Two of them use traditional linear structure, which demands a coherent, consistent “self” as narrator. The third is structured as a journal, allowing the reader to experience more fully the disjointed nature of the disease. All three create a clear sense of “self,” which contrasts strongly the idea that Alzheimer's disease entails a loss of “self”.
Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare's tragedies (pp. 46–63) Houndmills London: Faber and Faber Babette's feast (Motion picture) Denmark: Nordisk Film Ageing and popular culture
  • A Swinnen
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The woman's part: Feminist criticism of Shakespeare
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Kahn, C. (1980). Coming of age in Verona. In C. R. S. Lenz (Ed.), The woman's part: Feminist criticism of Shakespeare (pp. 171-193). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
The experience of Alzheimer's disease: Life through a tangled veil Recognizing countertransference: A key to good nursing home placement The Norton Shakespeare
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Sabat, S. R. (2001). The experience of Alzheimer's disease: Life through a tangled veil. Oxford: Blackwell. Sebastian-Moyer, M. (1990). Recognizing countertransference: A key to good nursing home placement. In B. Genevay, & R. S. Katz (Eds.), Coun-tertransference and older clients (pp. 110–122). London: Sage. Shakespeare, W. (1997). Romeo and Juliet. In S. Greenblatt (Ed.), The Norton Shakespeare (pp. 865–942). New York: Norton [1595].
Scenes from a marriage (Television series)
  • L.-O. ( Carlberg
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