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Nicholas Delbanco

Lastingness: The Art of Old Age

Nicholas Delbanco.
Publisher Grand Central  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 8.5 x 5.75 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780446199643
Pages/Publication Date 261/2011
Daedalus Item Code 22371
This item is not available.
While the American population is growing older, we remain focused on youth; we're "over the hill" by 50, and even sooner in fields of sports and entertainment. But if younger is better, why do we want our teachers, doctors, generals, and presidents to have reached a certain age? Here Nicholas Delbanco considers this conflicted attitude toward age through the idea of "lastingness," a quality of continuance, duration, and permanence. In profiles of O'Keeffe, Yeats, Verdi, and other geniuses in the fields of art, literature, and music, Delbanco searches for answers to why some artists' work diminishes with age while other artists reach their peak in full maturity.

In Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot declaims, "Old men should be explorers." In Delbanco's 26th book, he profiles a wide array of men and women who embodied Eliot's edict—painters, sculptors, composers, and writers who thrived in old age.... The great Pablo Casals, for example, drags himself to the podium, then is transformed by music. With joy we learn about the poet Hölderlin and admire the shy Italian novelist Giuseppe di Lampedusa, writing his first book and masterpiece, The Leopard, in blue notebooks while sitting in a favorite café. Rejected twice while he was alive, it was published to great acclaim after his death. Delbanco's writing grows more urgent near the end of this intriguing study of sustained creativity."—Booklist

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