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Promenade au pays de la vieillesse: Re-viewing Literary and Cinematic Representations of Ageing in Simone de Beauvoir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-92
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Romance Studies
Issue number3
Accepted/In press20 Sep 2017
PublishedDec 2017


  • Promenade au pays de_MCILVANNEY_Accepted20September2017_GREEN AAM

    Promenade_au_pays_de_MCILVANNEY_Accepted2017_GREEN_AAM.pdf, 542 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:05 Jul 2017

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

    This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedited version of an article accepted for publication in the Journal of Romance Studies. The definitive publisher-authenticated version will be available online at:

King's Authors


The following article examines two important but critically neglected representations of ageing: Simone de Beauvoir’s La Vieillesse (1970) and, more briefly, Promenade au pays de la vieillesse (1974), a Swedish documentary film directed by Marianne Ahrne featuring Simone de Beauvoir and her philosophy on ageing. This article challenges the view that La Vieillesse provides a representative portrayal of the lived experience of ageing, arguing that the work focuses above all on male-authored literary accounts of the ageing process, with the voices of women surprisingly muted. It suggests that the inclusion of more individual women’s positive experiences of the ageing process may have potentially undermined the thesis of the work. It goes on to propose that Beauvoir’s drive to raise awareness of the social neglect of the aged, combined with her existential perspective, inhibits her ability to see ageing positively and thus to situate herself outside of a highly conventional aesthetics of ageing.

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