Anna Gaidash


The aim of the present paper is twofold. Firstly, it tries to study the current debate on the notion of literary canon. Secondly, it detects age awareness in modern non/canonical US women drama on the basis of plays by Marsha Norman “Laundromat” (1978) and Margaret Edson “W;t” (1995). The purpose of the article is to identify the semantic aspects of age dynamics of elderly women in American drama in terms of canonical diversity. The methods used in the paper are mixed: historical data processing, close reading technique, analyses of interdisciplinary resources (literary gerontology, age studies, age psychology). The author of the paper argues that among strategies which could join women authors to the canonical realm of the privileged and the recognized, the role of university and school promoted by John Guillory is crucial. Since the notion of the canon becomes the subject of concern and there is a need for its re-definition, the faculty has the most luxurious opportunity to promote those female writers who used to be in oblivion or out of canon.

The results of the present study prove that from the standpoint of age studies the analyzed dramas demonstrate overt and covert types of age awareness as well as elaborated portrayals of the elderly. The dramatists focus upon such characteristics of later life as coping with the loss of a partner, intergenerational relations, nursing, attitude to death, and ability to change. In Norman’s play there has been detected destructive aging strategy of the retired character (introvert tactics). The protagonist of “Laundromat” embodies a modified archetype of the wise old woman. In Edson’s drama aging strategy is defined as constructive scenario (extravert tactics). The octogenarian in “W;t” personifies a classic archetype of the old wise woman. The findings of the paper inform that the common denominator of both plays in question is the presence of such gerontological markers as memories indicative of the genre “life review” and intergenerational relations. The results can be practical for the classes of US literature and literary gerontology.

Ключові слова

female US drama; non/canon; the archetype of the wise old woman

Повний текст:




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