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Angelergues, J. (2016). Growing Old: A Journey of Self-Discovery [Vieillir: une découverte] by Danielle Quinodoz, translated by David Alcorn Routledge, London, New York, NY, 2010; 218 pp; $27.50. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(2):544-548.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(2):544-548

Growing Old: A Journey of Self-Discovery [Vieillir: une découverte] by Danielle Quinodoz, translated by David Alcorn Routledge, London, New York, NY, 2010; 218 pp; $27.50

Review by:
J. Angelergues

The title of this book by Danielle Quinodoz may seem somewhat provocative because, without even the addition of a question mark, it presents growing old as the object of a discovery, as a domain in which new kinds of adventure become possible, and perhaps even as another ‘dark continent’. In the prologue itself the tone is set - and a distinctly positive one at that: “Growing old offers perhaps an opportunity of discovering how we can love ourselves better, how we can love better.” Here the author is developing an idea that she has outlined in some of her previous writings based on her work as a clinician and psychoanalyst with elderly people. The main object of this book, which aims to restore its rightful place to growing old, is what the author calls growing old actively, i.e. the work of growing old. That work will perhaps allow us to draw closer to Chopin's and Delacroix's ‘blue note’, a feeling of harmony.

For Quinodoz, the work of growing old is simply a particular instance of the work of living: not simply putting on the years passively, but taking on the patina of age. Growing old is an attempt to take stock of the whole of our own past history, in order to relate the end of our life to the overall path that we have been following. In this way, we can reconstruct for ourselves our own internal life-history. The wish to find some coherence to our existence becomes more and more pressing as its end draws near, but it does come up against the opposite unconscious wish, i.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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