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Rosalind Mitchison, 5 April 1990

History of Old Age 
by Georges Minois, translated by Sarah HanburyTenison.
Polity, 343 pp., £29.50, September 1989, 0 7456 0549 4
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A Fresh Map of Life: The Emergence of the Third Age 
by Peter Laslett.
Weidenfeld, 213 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 297 79451 5
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... These two writers are both concerned with the old and the elderly, but to very different effect. Minois presents a repertoire of comments on the old, from the ancient world to the 16th century: most comments are hostile. Girning about the disagreeable features of the old seems to have been a recognised literary form. Writers experimented with new nasty similes or enlarged upon a repertoire of unpleasant features ...

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