Department of English, University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto
Adapting “In Sight of the Lake” into the short film “Piano Lessons”: Creative Research in Medical Humanities
January 18, 2018 at 12:00pm in IC318
Marlene Goldman argues that novelists, poets, and dramatists play a profound role in any period’s understandings of illness and disease. In the case of late-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, language—specifically, clusters of familiar metaphors and literary genres such as tragedy and the Gothic—constitutes the central medium for the ongoing interplay between biology and culture. The idea that fiction more than medicine is responsible for shaping our concepts of disease is central to her recent book, Forgotten: Age-Related Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease in Canada. Her training in literary studies enables her to step back from authoritative and popular narratives about aging and age-related diseases to consider how they are narratively constructed and whose interests they serve. In her talk, she will explore the profound relationship between literature and gerontology. She will also screen her own short film “Piano Lessons” based on Alice Munro’s story “In Sight of the Lake.” Ultimately, she argues that the humanities play an important role in both entrenching and challenging ageist conceptions of both old age and age-related illnesses.
Bio: Dr. Marlene Goldman is a Professor in the Department of English at the University of Toronto who specializes in Canadian literature, age studies, and medical humanities. She recently completed a book entitled Forgotten: Age-Related Dementia and Alzheimer’s in Canadian Literature on the intersection between narrative and pathological modes of forgetting associated with trauma, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease (McGill-Queen’s Press, 2017). She is currently writing a book entitled Performing Shame: Simulating Stigmatized Minds and Bodies. In addition to her scholarly works, she has also written, directed, and produced a short film about dementia entitled “Piano Lessons” based on Alice Munro’s short story “In Sight of the Lake” from her collection Dear Life (2004). At present, she is adapting the story “Torching the Dusties” about aging and intergenerational warfare from Margaret Atwood’s recent collection Stone Mattress (2014) into a short film. She is the author of Paths of Desire (University of Toronto Press, 1997), Rewriting Apocalypse (McGill-Queen’s Press, 2005), and (Dis)Possession (McGill-Queen’s Press 2011). For more information about Dr. Goldman’s research, film making, and publications, please see her website: marlenegoldman.ca
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