The Midlife Mind

Literature and the Art of Aging

Ben Hutchinson

The Midlife Mind

Ben Hutchinson

Distributed for Reaktion Books

328 pages | 20 halftones | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 9781789143508 Will Publish November 2020 For sale in North and South America only
The meaning of life is a common concern, but what is the meaning of midlife? With the help of illustrious writers such as Dante, Montaigne, Beauvoir, Goethe, and Beckett, The Midlife Mind sets out to answer this question. Erudite but engaging, it takes a personal approach to that most impersonal of processes, aging. From the ancients to the moderns, from poets to playwrights, writers have long meditated on how we can remain creative as we move through our middle years. There are no better guides, then, to how we have regarded middle age in the past, how we understand it in the present, and how we might make it as rewarding as possible in the future.
Review Quotes
Andrew Motion, Homewood Professor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University, author of “Ways of Life: On Places, Painters and Poets”
“In this elegantly essayistic book, Hutchinson contemplates the central stretch of our human existence. Personal as well as learned, conversational but braced, it ranges widely through European cultures (Dante to Beckett, Montaigne to Beauvoir) and reminds us that being caught in the middle, with or without a crisis, can produce opportunities as well as restriction. Its great distinction is to respond to both with wise and warmhearted understanding.”
Josh Cohen, professor of modern literary theory, Goldsmiths, University of London, psychoanalyst, author of "Not Working: Why We Have to Stop"
"Weaving granular readings of major literary renderings of midlife with reflections on his own, Hutchinson’s The Midlife Mind is more than another book ‘about’ middle age. Mobilizing the qualities of irony and self-awareness for which it advocates, it is an elegant and absorbing performance of middle age as a preferred mode of writing and living."
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