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Four Last SongsAging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten$
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Linda Hutcheon and Michael Hutcheon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226255590

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226255620.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 07 April 2020

Setting the Stage

Setting the Stage

(p.1) Chapter One Setting the Stage
Four Last Songs

Linda Hutcheon

Michael Hutcheon

University of Chicago Press

Introducing the timeliness of aging and creativity as topics of study today, this orienting chapter outlines the basic issues and perspectives that underpin those that follow, with their stories of particular composers and their creative lives. The late nineteenth century, where these stories begin, saw the discovery and definition of “old age” as a social, economic, and medical construct. And thus were born, in the twentieth century, both geriatrics and gerontology as disciplines. Recent medical advances and increased life expectancy have meant that a new period of later life has come into being for an increasing number of people. But the strikingly dichotomous cultural views of age and aging—both positive and negative—have not changed much at all. This forms the cultural background to the notion of the composers’ “personhood” and the role of creativity in it.

Keywords:   gerontology, personhood, old age, productivity, third Age, opera

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