Fictions of Radical Life Extension: Living Forever from the Fin de Siècle to the First World War

Veröffentlichungen: BuchPeer Reviewed


Living Forever is the first book-length study of fictions of radical life extension—literary thought experiments that ask: what would it mean to live forever?—produced during the formative period 1878-1918. Covering years that saw the agitation for and then establishment of an old-age pension scheme in Britain, the book appraises these fictions alongside myriad archival materials, including medical treatises, anti-aging advertisements, and visual sources. Delving across such forms as dramatic verse, and such genres as the imperial Gothic, Living Forever reveals the extent of Anglophone and Continental European fiction’s engagement with the idea of radically extending life. By evaluating lesser-known writers in conjunction with more established voices such as H. Rider Haggard, H. G. Wells, and J. M. Barrie, the book complicates our understanding of the late Victorian- and early-Edwardian canon, and of fiction’s sociopolitical impetus during these years. So too does it revise histories of ‘rejuvenescence’ by demonstrating that it became an object of biomedical and culture interest long before the seismic shifts created by the First World War. The book argues that fictions of radical life extension reflected and helped to shape a decisive change in the attitudes toward age and aging, as well as the legal and social status of old age in particular—changes that are highly consequential in a present preoccupied by a global aging population and ‘biogerontology’.
VerlagBloomsbury Academic
PublikationsstatusIn Vorbereitung - Okt. 2022


ReiheBloomsbury Studies in the Humanities, Ageing and Later Life

ÖFOS 2012

  • 602008 Anglistik