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The art of growing old

The author asks if people of a certain age should embrace the quiet life

By Margaret Drabble   February 2014

In her memoir, novelist Penelope Lively describes herself as trapped in “the tiresome holding-pen of old age” © PATRICK ZACHMANN/MAGNUM PHOTOS

When Simone de Beauvoir published her study of old age, La Vieillesse, in 1970, she was a pioneer in the field. The Second Sex (1949) had been a groundbreaking, seminal and life-changing work, gaining instant recognition, but with Old Age, as the book was called in the UK, she ventured into territory that nobody else seemed willing to enter, and friends and colleagues expressed astonishment that she, in her early sixties,…

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