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She’s Been Away: Ageing, madness and memory

Wilson, Sherryl

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Authors



Contributors

Ulla Kriebernegg
Editor

Roberta Maierhofer
Editor

Barbara Ratzenböck
Editor

Abstract

She’s Been Away is a television drama written by Stephen Poliakoff and broadcast in the UK on the BBC in 1989. This paper discusses the ways in which the play unusually presents a feminist critique of contemporary patriarchal structures through the mobilisation of an elderly woman’s memories that, once excavated, liberate her and act as a force for empowerment in a younger woman. I draw on the ideas of prothestic memory posited by Alison Landsberg (2004) to argue that memory provides a mechanism through which the confluence of madness, old age and memory disrupts expectations and punctures the consciousness. The combination of Lillian’s age and her intergenerational relation with her niece-in-law subvert the well worn tropes and reconfigures ageing as wisdom able to produce a new sense of empowerment. As such, She’s Been Away is both a celebration of the unruly older woman and a meditation on the power of memory to produce counter discourse.

Citation

Wilson, S. (2014). She’s Been Away: Ageing, madness and memory. In U. Kriebernegg, R. Maierhofer, & B. Ratzenböck (Eds.), Alive and Kicking at All Ages: Cultural Constructions of Health and Life Course Identity (187-202). Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag

Publication Date Mar 24, 2014
Deposit Date Oct 21, 2013
Publicly Available Date Feb 10, 2016
Journal Aging Studies Series entitled “Alive and Kicking at All Ages: Cultural Constructions of Health and Life Course Identity.”
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Pages 187-202
Series Title Aging Studies
Book Title Alive and Kicking at All Ages: Cultural Constructions of Health and Life Course Identity
ISBN 9783837625820
Keywords ageing, madness, television drama, memory, unruly, patriarchy
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/820146
Publisher URL http://www.transcript-verlag.de/978-3-8376-2582-0/alive-and-kicking-at-all-ages

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