Granny at Seventeen: May Sarton’s Early Encounters with the Land of Old Age

Sylvia HennebergMorehead State University
Vol. 22, No. 2 (Fall 2003), 357-370

This essay moves from May Sarton’s well-known interest in aging as expressed in the popular journals of her middle and old age to examine this concern in her earlier work, which has been far less often recognized. While beginning with Sarton’s work in the 1930s (with Sarton in her mid-twenties), the argument focuses on writing from 1948 to 1958 to show that Sarton’s faithfulness to old age makes her a radical voice in the twentieth century and fills a gap in critical discourse. In an age when youth seems one of the most tenacious and intractable, though elusive of essences, thanks to massive modern cultural fetishizing of the young, Sarton’s perspective jars the status quo.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]