Kay Heath


On her book Aging by the Book: The Emergence of Midlife in Victorian Britain

Cover Interview of January 12, 2010

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“We inherited our obsession with being ‘over the hill’ from the nineteenth century.”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“The 1871 census defines middle age as thirty to fifty for both sexes, but novels demonstrate a clear gender difference: fictional women begin middle age at thirty while men remain ‘young’ a decade longer.”

On the second:

“Older women had long been devalued in Britain, but Victorians added a new twist. With the rise of gynecology, female sexuality was considered delicate and pathological in comparison to the male norm.”