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Apr 3: "An Old Man is But a Paltry Thing"?: Ageing and Elderly Care in Long Eighteenth-Century England

Date: April 3, 2024 (Wednesday)

Time: 4:30PM

Venue: Music Library Lecture Room, 11/F Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Details and registration: All are welcome. No registration required.


Desmond Bo-Yuan Huang, Associate Professor, Department of Foreign Languages, National Chiayi University 


Dr. Tara LEE, Fellow, Society of Fellows in the Humanities, HKU

This talk explores the perceptions and ideologies surrounding old age in the long eighteenth century and modern times. It specifically analyses eighteenth-century medical pamphlets in England to understand how ageing was defined, idealized, and cared for during that period. The talk will be divided into three main sections:

1. Definitions of old age in medical literature

2. Idealized aging and elderly care in medical literature

3. Comparisons and contrasts between eighteenth-century perspectives and modern-day advancements in healthcare and longevity

Through the analysis of eighteenth-century medical pamphlets, this talk aims to reflect on the concepts and attitudes toward old age in eighteenth-century England and modern society, proposing a more diverse and positive imagination of ageing.


Bo-Yuan Huang holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literary Studies from the University of Warwick, UK. He currently serves as an associate professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and as the division chief of general affairs in the Language Centre of National Chiayi University, Taiwan. Additionally, he holds the position of Secretary-General to the Taiwan Shakespeare Association. His research interests encompass Charles Lamb, age studies, medical humanities, mobility studies, and long eighteenth-century British literature. He has published articles in journals such as The Wenshan Review, Review of English and American Literature, and Tamkang Review. He recently co-edited a book titled "浩蕩英華:長十八世紀的英國文藝與歷史" (hao dang ying hua: British Literature, Art and History in the Long Eighteenth Century) with Dr Kang-Yen Chiu from National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Taiwan.


Society of Fellows in the Humanities


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