New Edition of Fierce Anthology Shows Changes after a Decade

By Cruikshank, Margaret | Aging Today, March/April 2007 | Go to article overview

New Edition of Fierce Anthology Shows Changes after a Decade


Cruikshank, Margaret, Aging Today


In 1995, North Star Press published Fierce With Reality: An Anthology of Literature on Aging, which had grown out of my master's thesis in gerontology. The book was an odd assortment of work with no overall theme other than aging. As a recovering academic, I was suspicious of imposed categories. I did create subheadings, however, such as "Homage to Grandmothers," "Aging Is Not for Sissies" and "Growth and Change."

In the few other literary anthologies on aging I had come across, I noticed no work by and about gay elders and very little work by people of color. Therefore, besides wanting to include traditional favorites, such as "The Last Words of My English Grandmother" by William Carlos Williams and a section from The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes, I also went about finding suitable entries by lesbians or by people from diverse cultures.

A RANGE OF WRITINGS

In addition to including writers with multicultural backgrounds, the first edition of Fierce With Reality encompassed a range of writings, from feminist analyses of aging and philosophical articles to poetry and short stories. Several contributors were Asian American students who had taken my advanced classes in English as a second language at City College of San Francisco in the 19905. When I asked these students to write about aging in their countries of origin, several chose to write about folktales.

Interestingly, tales with similar themes can have very different endings in different cultures. A fountain-of-youth story in Vietnamese tradition has a happy ending, for example, whereas in Japanese versions the tale ends badly, with the husband in the story rejuvenating into a young adult while his wife turns into an infant for whom he must provide care. Folktales from China showed a particularly high regard for elders.

Fierce With Reality was recently published in a newly revised edition by Just Write Books, based in Topsham, Maine, near where I now live. For the revised edition, I added works by Mainers. (Writers and libraries seem to thrive in Maine, as do independent bookstores.) I also added an Iraqi folktale, a story first recorded in English in the 1930S, in recognition of today's tragic connection between our peoples. I believe that imaginative works invite us to challenge the dualism that divides people into allies and enemies.

In selecting work for the anthology, both then and now, I wanted to avoid a simple division between positive depictions of aging and negative ones because many people's experiences seem to reveal complicated fluctuations between these two poles. For instance, one lighthearted essay ends with the main character's grisly suicide, and I aimed to offset the somber tone of my own piece on dementia by recounting humorous incidents that occurred at a senior center in San Francisco. I also included works in which the writer rebelled at patronizing treatment or noted how the category "old" can be ill fitting or oppressive.

A DECADE OF DIFFERENCES

The 65 poems, stories, folktales and personal narratives in the new edition of Fierce With Reality, half of them by living writers, don't touch on every aspect of the aging process. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

New Edition of Fierce Anthology Shows Changes after a Decade
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.