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Middle-Aged Women in Literature

  • Carolyn G. Heilbrun
Part of the Women in Context: Development and Stresses book series (WICO)

Abstract

Henry James was nearly 50 when he wrote those words in his notebook; 10 years later he would begin The Ambassadors, the first of his last three great novels. Its hero is a man of 55, a man who has failed to live his life until now—even, perhaps, to recognize that he has not lived it. Henry James and his generation of American men provide all of us with a model for late achievement. Two friends from his youth, Henry Adams and Oliver Wendell Holmes, were, like James, to flower late: Adams did not write Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres until he was 65 and his Education of Henry Adams until he was almost 70. Holmes reached his full powers when he was appointed to the Supreme Court at 61 (Matthiessen, 1944, p. 30). Henry’s brother, William James, whose youth was a long exercise in indecision, did not produce his first book, the important Principles of Psychology, until he was 47.

Keywords

Jewish Woman Woman Today Commanding Force Woman Artist Feminine Mystique 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn G. Heilbrun
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EnglishColumbia UniversityUSA
  2. 2.New YorkUSA

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