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Mobility and Immobility in Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn: Migration as a Static Initiatory Journey par Coline Pavia, publié le 01/07/2020
Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn centres on Eilis Lacey’s migration from Ireland to Brooklyn. The protagonist’s spatial mobility is accompanied by an identity change, as her self evolves when she settles in New York. Although she embarks on an initiatory journey through migration, Eilis faces various forms of immobility: the American territory resembles Ireland, and she is confronted to family duty when she thought she would escape it. This article therefore shows that the protagonist’s migration in Brooklyn is paradoxically mainly static, in terms of both space and identity. However, Eilis’s mobility still fosters a form of inner transformation as she is faced with a division between her Irish and American homes and between two selves that are irreconcilable.
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Imitation of Life / Mirage de la vie (Douglas Sirk - 1959) par Lionel Gerin, publié le 07/10/2016
Le film raconte l'ascension et le succès de Lora (Lana Turner) qui, partie de rien, sacrifie sa vie amoureuse pour sa carrière d'actrice. Elle est aidée par Annie, une femme noire qu'elle héberge, et qui est tout à la fois femme de ménage, nounou, secrétaire, dame de compagnie. Toutes deux sont veuves et ont une fille. Il s'agit donc, entre autres, d'une histoire de réussite, mais c'est d'une self-made woman dont il est véritablement question ici, d'une incarnation féminine du rêve américain et des problèmes spécifiques que cela pose. Le film joue sur des couples: mère/fille, noire/blanche, riche/pauvre.
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David Samuels: My Troubles, and Yours par David Samuels, publié le 01/09/2015
David Samuels nous propose dans ce texte inédit, écrit à l’occasion des Assises Internationales du Roman 2015, une réflexion saisissante sur le principe d’ « auto-imagination » en dressant un parallèle entre l’autofiction et la montée des extrémismes politiques et religieux.
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Morality (Adelle Waldman) par Adelle Waldman, publié le 26/08/2015
Two of my favorite authors, Jane Austen and George Eliot, are very concerned with characters’ moral lives. In “The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.,” I look closely at how Nathaniel P. justifies his behavior to himself. Today, books or films about romantic relationships, or dating, are often seen as very light—mere amusements and escapes—but this is the area in life when most of us will reveal how we treat others: how kind we are to those we don’t (or no longer) love and how we respond when differences arise with those we do love. I wanted to write a book about relationships that was truthful without being escapist, and I wanted to look closely at how dating behavior reflects morality in the deepest sense.
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Cinematic (Manu Joseph) par Manu Joseph, publié le 29/06/2015
As a lonely young man largely forgotten by the world and invisible to the most gorgeous women whom you adore, should you not be writing melancholy poetry or the vain prose of deep self-regard. Instead you are drawn to cinema, you derive so much from movies, and it appears that you have been infected by the unsung altruism of commercial cinema, its duty to entertain. Is it because you think you know how to entertain? Is that your conceit? Or is it humility that pushes you to entertain? Is it not true that you find the need to have a deal with your audience – ‘I have something to say and I am afraid you may not be interested, but I seek the right to say it by giving you something in return’. Isn’t that the humility of cinema?
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Meritocracy (David Samuels) par David Samuels, publié le 11/06/2015
“Meritocracy” is the comic honorific that the American elite has awarded to itself in recognition of its accomplishments since the end of the Cold War. The coinage has proved to be a lasting and significant one because it does so many kinds of necessary work at once. “Meritocracy” assuages the inherent tension that exists between the terms “elite” and “popular democracy” by suggesting that the new American elite has earned its position in an entirely democratic way. Yes, we do have an elite, the word admits, as other nations do: but our elite merely consists of the most “meritorious” members of our democracy, and so any potentially troubling contradiction dissolves in a pleasurable way that both the early Puritans and their plutocratic descendents might easily recognize. The fortunes of the founders of Google and Facebook provide us with reassuring proof that the more we have, the more deserving we are.
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Seeing Between the Lines: Terence Davies’s The House of Mirth and the art of adaptation par Wendy Everett, publié le 02/03/2015
Examining Terence Davies’s adaptation of Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, this article identifies ways in which the creative interpretation of the filmmaker may serve to open up new insights into both the original text and the language of cinema itself. It considers, in particular, aspects such as music, painting, and visual metaphor in its presentation of cinema as an essentially multilayered and complex medium which requires of the spectator an imaginative and creative engagement, just as the novel requires of the reader.
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End of Story par Avital Ronell, publié le 19/01/2015
"For my part, I practice affirmative dissociation. Prompted mostly by a Nietzschean will to fiction and love of masks, I “fake it ‘til I make it,” assuming shrewd yet fragile identities, rotating signatures, reappropriating for myself syntactical maneuvers and rhetorical feints."
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Secularity in Indian History par Sudipta Kaviraj, publié le 12/01/2015
A peculiar feature of the modern world is the asymmetry in the knowledge of the other between the West and the non-West. Nonwestern societies know a great deal more about Western history than Western societies know about theirs. Religious principles clearly possess a peculiar quality: because they are held with particular reverence by religious individuals who see them as principles created, or at least sanctioned by God rather than men. Their denial by others consequently can cause unusually intense offense. Not observing a principle of a particular religion is considered by strict adherents of that religion as sacrilege. This is why conflict of religious principles gives rise to conflict of particular intensity and severity: it can also give rise to spectacular cruelty, because the object of one’s attack are entirely dehumanized, and considered enemies not of man or king or nation but of God himself.
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Writing on the self par ENS Lyon La Clé des Langues, publié le 14/11/2014
Critics and academics tend to draw a line between autobiography and fiction. However, it is sometimes difficult to make such a clear distinction between what is made up and what is not. Here are some short texts written by authors who reflect on their use of the first person.
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Self-portraits par ENS Lyon La Clé des Langues, publié le 13/11/2014
A self-portrait is a drawn, engraved, painted, photographed or sculpted representation of an artist by himself. Self-portraits have been a common art form since the Renaissance, a period when artists had a prominent part in society and when a distinct interest in the individual as a subject arose.
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Living, Thinking, Looking - A conversation with Siri Hustvedt par Siri Hustvedt, Clifford Armion, publié le 26/08/2014
Siri Hustvedt took part in the eighth edition of the Assises Internationales du Roman, organised by the Villa Gillet and Le Monde. She answered our questions on her collection of essays, Living, Thinking, Looking.
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The gun control debate in the US par James B. Jacobs, Claire Richard, publié le 08/04/2014
I consider myself a gun control skeptic. I do not believe, at this point in our history, with 300 millions firearms in private hands, and a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and a political situation in which there is a very very small number of politicians who are willing to take a strong position on firearms, that there is a serious potential for regulatory controls. I don’t think that will happen. There is no magic bullet, if you can excuse the phrase, that will change American violence, but the good news is that it has been reduced substantially over the last 25 years....
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Rebelling as a female in the 18th and 19th century literature. From Pamela to Jane Eyre: a path to equality? par Marion Lopez-Burette, publié le 23/09/2013
This article intends to study and compare the way Pamela, Richardson's early heroine of the novel genre, and Charlotte Brontë's romantic Jane, rebel. What follows will underscore the path trodden by female fictional characters in terms of shaping the individual, from the Enlightenment period to the romantic era. The patterns of entrapment and self-willed seclusion the protagonists are involved in function as incentives for rebellion. The ideals they rebel for play the role of living forces in a way that is meaningful to comprehend how the essence of rebellion evolved with time. No matter how much the protagonists' respective procedure may differ, from moral conservatism to personal answering of moral questions through rites of passage, the two female heroines are equally conscious of their value as human beings. Their handling of their hardships and their allegiance to God, however, points to the qualitative and quantitative evolution of the notion of equality.
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Keith Scribner: Representation and Psychology of Conflict par Keith Scribner, publié le 27/08/2013
In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech William Faulkner famously said that all real meaning in fiction comes from the human heart in conflict with itself. As a novelist I’m compelled by the internal conflicts inherent in the stories we tell ourselves in order to live and how those stories come to define us, how they allow us to justify our actions and possibly delude ourselves about who we are. Like any narrative, these stories help us shape otherwise disparate experiences into a comprehensible form. Over time we become so heavily invested in these narratives that when their veracity is challenged, the resulting conflict can be explosive.
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The Essential David Shrigley par Johanna Felter, publié le 21/05/2013
"David Shrigley is a multidisciplinary artist who started his career in the early nineties self-publishing art books containing cartoon-like drawings for which he is mainly famous. Their trademarks, which are also recognizable in his varied artistic productions – clumsy execution, sloppy handwriting, disturbing or puzzling text, dark humour and uncanny atmosphere – helped Shrigley to gradually shape a clearly distinctive personality in his work which brought him out as one of the current key figures of British contemporary art scene."
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The Political Future of Religion and Secularism par Craig Calhoun, publié le 08/02/2013
Secularism has long been seen as a solution to problems of religion. Yet today, secularism (laïcité) itself is a political problem alongside religion. In some versions, secularism has become an obstacle to political and social projects potentially shared among members of different religions and the non-religious. It has been politicized in relation to migration, insurgency, and religious renewal. As ideology, it is sometimes the basis for new forms of intolerance. Both secularism and religion are sometimes made the bases for prescriptive demands on others as well as self-understandings. A central issue is the transformation of secularism and laïcité – in some versions – from formulations focused on freedom to ideologies mobilized to impose cultural values. Yet this need not be so. The problems are not with religion and secularism as such, but with how “fundamentalist” versions of each are deployed.
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Some Thoughts on Identity par Claude Arnaud, publié le 18/01/2013
It is the topic par excellence, the enigma that is impossible to solve. This puppet that we call somewhat pompously “The Self,” what is it in the end? An actor who resigns himself, around the age of thirty, to play only one role, or a born clown who struggles to understand himself, having changed so often?
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Becoming No One par Gwenaëlle Aubry, publié le 15/01/2013
"The writing project came as the answer to a question that can, in retrospect, be formulated as follows: How can we grieve for a melancholy person, a person who was grieving himself? How can we get to grips with the absence of someone who was never really present?"
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Understanding the social media: an interview with Jeffrey Rosen par Jeffrey Rosen, Clifford Armion, publié le 10/01/2013
Now that we’re living most of our lives online, all of us are vulnerable to the internet. The difficulty with young people is that they may not have experienced the dangers of not being able to escape your past until it’s too late. I like to tell the story of Stacy Sneider, the young 22 year old teacher in training who posted a picture of herself on Myspace wearing a pirate’s hat and drinking from a plastic cup that said drunken pirate. Her supervisor at the school said she was promoting drinking and she was fired. She sued and was unable to get her job back and she had to pick an entirely different career. That’s a very dramatic example on how vulnerable all of us are to being judged out of context by a single image or ill chosen picture and once you do that it may be very hard to escape your past.
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Video game theory par Liel Leibovtiz, Claire Richard, publié le 05/12/2012
TV requires you to interpret, to find meaning, to reject meaning, to make up new meaning, to negociate. Video games aren’t like that. Video games require you to do something else. You turn on a video game, and immediately you exist in three separate forms : you are that self on the couch, sitting in the physical space, watching the TV, holding the remote in your hand, you are the avatar on the screen, the character which you control and manipulate, and you’re a sort of third entity, an amalgamation of the two of you, of real and unreal, person and avatar, of gamer and character.
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Nick Flynn on the misfit and the outcast par Nick Flynn, publié le 27/08/2012
I wrote a memoir a few years ago (Another Bullshit Night in Suck City), which, in part, chronicled the five or six years my father spent living on the streets in Boston. I’d been a case-worker with the homeless for three years before he got himself evicted from his marginal living situation, ran out of options (he slept in his taxi, on friend’s couches) and eventually ended up at the shelter where I worked. I hadn’t grown up with him, I hadn’t met him, really, before he came into the shelter—that this is where I got to know him is in the Shakespearian realm of the unlikely coincidence that sets the play in motion (think Hamlet encountering his father’s ghost).
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RJ Ellory on crime stories par Roger Jon Ellory, publié le 21/06/2012
Who judges the crime? Is the severity of the crime, even the crime itself, judged by the perpetrator or the victim? If judged by the perpetrator, would the punishment be more or less severe, for are we not our own worst enemies, our own most damning judge?
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The Neurosciences and Literature: an “exquisite corpse” or a “meeting of the minds”? par Lionel Naccache, publié le 16/02/2012
In the context of the Walls and Bridges project in New York, a meeting has been organized for October between an American novelist - Siri Hustvedt - and a French neuroscientist on the topic of "fiction," both mental and literary. This will obviously be the time to ask ourselves: can we imagine a promising future for meetings between the neurosciences of cognition and the world of literary creation? Is this merely the random juxtaposition of two terms to which we are attached, or the genuine dialectical culmination of self-consciousness? An amusing, trendy quid pro quo, or a key moment in our knowledge of ourselves as tale tellers?
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Narration in the Human Mind par Siri Hustvedt, publié le 16/02/2012
"Human beings are forever explaining themselves to themselves. This is the nature of our self-consciousness. We are not only awake and aware of the world around us, but are able to reflect on ourselves as actors in that world. We reason and we tell stories. Unlike our mammalian relatives who do not narrate their own lives, we become characters in our own tales, both when we recollect ourselves in the past and imagine ourselves in the future. Our ability to represent our experience in language - in those sounds and signs of our essential intersubjectivity - allows us the necessary symbolic alienation required for mental time travel..."
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Three Words for Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich par Wendy Lesser, publié le 14/02/2012
As an element in Shostakovich's music, the shame is perhaps not as audible as the dread, but it is everpresent nonetheless. One cannot point to a precise place in the music where you can hear it, but it underlies and supports most of the other painful emotions, and if it were removed from the mix, you would certainly notice the difference. The shame is apparent in the harshness with which Shostakovich treats himself and his own feelings; it saves the saddest quartets (like the Eighth) from self-pity, and it saves the more cheerful ones (like the Sixth) from any tincture of smugness or self-assurance...
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“The shadow of the fifth”: patterns of exclusion in Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child par Anne-Laure Brevet, publié le 06/12/2011
This study of The Fifth Child (1988) attempts to show that the eponymous character, a traumatic semi-human creature who neither assimilates into his ordinary family nor conforms to the demands of society impersonates a drive for disorder, chaos and violence undermining collective ideals. On the one hand, the fact that the alien child is not only excluded from family life but also from any type of “normal” human interaction, especially in Ben, in the World (2000), reveals hidden discordant notes that further lead to the disruption of his model family. On the other hand, as the symbol of a dark, destructive force fighting against enlightenment and progress, Ben’s inherently disruptive figure is a reminder of the two World Wars and the impersonation of social unrest. Through the various patterns of exclusion triggered off by his subversive presence, the fifth child reveals that the primitive dimension of the self and of humanity at large should be understood as part and parcel of human nature.
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Rêves d’horizon dans Julius Caesar par Laurence Crohem, publié le 10/11/2011
Dans la pièce, l'assassinat de Caesar semble être non seulement l'indice d'un trouble politique, mais aussi d'une temporalité problématique. L'assassinat paraît toujours être un horizon qui se dérobe, un événement qui n'a jamais lieu au présent, et semble offrir un changement de paradigme éphémère, chaque Romain, Brutus comme tous les autres, devenant un temps souverain potentiel et interchangeable. Se dessine alors l'idée d'une crise du self solidaire du trouble politique et temporel : hanté par d'autres, Brutus semble développer une étrange modalité du self. Quel horizon du soi l'assassinat de Caesar dessine-t-il ?
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Katherine Mansfield’s Short Stories: An Introduction par Emilie Walezak , publié le 28/06/2011
Katherine Mansfield wrote short stories exclusively and produced a large body of work though she died quite young from tuberculosis when she was 30. She is one the best representatives of modernist short story writing. Virginia Woolf herself admitted to Mansfield that she was jealous of her writing: "and then Morgan Foster said the Prelude and The Voyage Out were the best novels of their time, and I said damn Katherine! Why can't I be the only woman who knows how to write?"
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An interview with Akeel Bilgrami on environmental ethics par Akeel Bilgrami, Clifford Armion, publié le 14/01/2011
Akeel Bilgrami, directeur du Heyman Center for the Humanities (Columbia), est une figure centrale de la philosophie contemporaine du langage et de l'esprit. Ses ouvrages, Belief and Meaning (Blackwell, 1992) et Self-Knowledge and Resentment, ont connu un grand succès aux États-Unis. Portés par une démarche philosophique originale et singulière, ils proposent un nouveau cadre de pensée. Après s'être intéressé aux questions de la connaissance de soi et l'intentionnalité, il bouscule les manières de penser la nature et les relations que l'homme entretient avec elle.
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Akeel Bilgrami - Politics, Nature, and Enchantment par Akeel Bilgrami, publié le 14/01/2011
Akeel Bilgrami, directeur du Heyman Center for the Humanities (Columbia), est une figure centrale de la philosophie contemporaine du langage et de l'esprit. Ses ouvrages, Belief and Meaning (Blackwell, 1992) et Self-Knowledge and Resentment, ont connu un grand succès aux États-Unis. Portés par une démarche philosophique originale et singulière, ils proposent un nouveau cadre de pensée. Après s'être intéressé aux questions de la connaissance de soi et l'intentionnalité, Akeel Bilgrami bouscule les manières de penser la nature et les relations que l'homme entretient avec elle.
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New Labour and the neo-liberal ascendancy: the case of public service reform par Eric Shaw, publié le 01/03/2010
A much debated topic has been the fundamental thrust of the New Labour project. Was it about the modernisation of social democracy or its abandonment? Did it adapt itself to the settlement bequeathed by Thatcherism and the neo-liberal paradigm it entrenched or seek it transcend it? This article discusses these contending interpretations focusing on the issue of public service reform, which lay at the heart of New Labour's domestic programme. It then explores the effects of New Labour's market-oriented 'modernisation' strategy on what social democrats have traditionally regarded as the normative underpinning of the public services, the 'public service ethos'.
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"Come, unbutton here": Exposing "the thing itself" in Shakespeare’s King Lear par Denis Lagae-Devoldère, publié le 14/02/2010
The first definition of the verb "to expose" in the Oxford English Dictionary is "to put out", "to deprive of shelter", "to turn out of doors", formed on the original Latin exponere: in King Lear, the king is famously kicked out of his respective daughters' houses and exposed to the elements. Throughout the play, such exposure to danger goes hand in hand with the exposure of something or somebody, which the OED defines as to denounce or to lay open (to danger, to ridicule, to censure)...
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The Language of Gesture: Melville's Imaging of Blackness and the Modernity of Billy Budd par Klaus Benesch , publié le 04/01/2010
In light of recent studies of both the life of black seamen and of the role of blacks in the Enlightenment, the paper discusses the representation of African sailors in the work of Herman Melville, in particular in his unfinished manuscript Billy Budd, Sailor. As I argue, Melville's imaging of a "noble" black sailor in the opening chapter is crucial to the author's ongoing attempt to untangle the complex relationship of race and modernity. By invoking a non-totalitarian, gestural/visual aesthetics of blackness Melville not only reinforces his earlier critique of modernity's foundation in slavery; he also revivifies and, simultaneously, trans-forms the eighteenth-century tradition of visualizing blacks as tragic witnesses to the para-doxes of the enlightenment. In so doing, Melville couches his argument against racism in a 'gestural' (black) critique of white judgments on blacks that may well be read to foreshadow later, more radical gestures of black pride from zoot-suiters to the raised fists of black pan-thers or the corporeal self-fashioning of the gangster rapper.
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All the World’s a Folly : Theatricality and Intertextuality in Paul Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies par Brigitte Friant-Kessler, publié le 11/12/2009
There is a manner in which Auster's revisiting classic sources is not merely a simple lift or a citation from the work when he playfully offers a postmodern context to old texts, especially with major literary figures in the wings. As J. Dupont argues in his introductory note to The Brooklyn Follies : "It would however be an exhaustingly vain task to try and undertake a census of the literary intertexts that run beneath the surface of Auster's work". Such an attempt is all the more so destined to be a failure as there are, beside the clearly stated references, less obvious, possibly unavowed though not any the less significant, undercurrents of intertextuality to be traced in Auster's Brooklyn Follies. Were there only one idiosyncratic trait to be highlighted in Auster's style, it would obviously be his taste for patch-working...
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Fiche de lecture : Liver, Will Self par Jocelyn Dupont, publié le 24/09/2009
A review of Will Self's collection of novellas, Liver.
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Interview with Will Self par Will Self , Beth Harper , David Belaga , publié le 23/06/2009
On 29th May 2009, the London-based writer Will Self came to Lyon to take part in the Villa Gillet's "Assises Internationales du Roman". He was to give a talk on his perspectives on the works of the influential French writer, Louis Ferdinand Céline, but before he did so I managed to catch up with him to ask a few questions about his interests, influences and views on modern fiction.
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Fiche de lecture : The Body, Hanif Kureishi par Laura Menard, publié le 03/05/2008
The narrator of Hanif Kureishi’s novella is a British playwright in his mid-sixties called Adam who experiences the difficulty of living as an aging man. His struggle to maintain his self-esteem and joie de vivre prompts him to give a very cynical account of the old people’s situation in a society ruled by beauty, youth and desire. Adam’s gloomy life takes a favorable turn – or so he thinks … - when he meets Ralph, a handsome and young admirer of his, who secretly informs him he can look just as healthy and fit as he: he may be operated on to have his mind transferred from his old, decaying body to a New Body.
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