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Writers in the nineteenth century became increasingly interested in the changes a person experiences over a lifetime.  Long circulating stereotypes such as “young turks” and old misers or innocent girls and “old maids” were joined by age-based images of hoydens, juvenile delinquents, powerful matriarchs and patriarchs, and elderly poor begging on the streets of London.  The new fields of psychology and sociology focused public attention on the quality of lives and minds at all ages and asked how gender, class, race, ethnicity, and social circumstances affected each stage of life. Magazines and newspapers advised readers how to eat, sleep, dress, and behave “for your age.”  New schools, growing job opportunities, the variety of urban life, and age related travel across the empire sometimes suggested a generation had more in common than a social group.  Not surprisingly, marketers increasingly advertised goods designed specifically for infant, toddler, children, “youth,” the middle-aged, and “aged” consumers.  Literature and culture of the period also absorb this preoccupation with age as we see in novels, short stories, and poems focused on age-related character conflicts.  Even more significantly, life stages influenced literary form.  This course considers the myriad ways nineteenth-century literature expresses, traces, fabricates, and imposes attitudes toward the shifting stages of life.  

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