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Theses Master's

“All My Songs Are In The Past” Older Women Look Back on Romantic Love: Nostalgia, Imagination, and Idealization

Taylor, Lauren

When I first conceptualized this thesis, it was narrower in scope. I had originally planned to focus only on older women’s nostalgia for early romantic love -­ a topic that grew out of a recurrent theme in both my clinical work with older women and in my work as an oral historian. It is a theme that is at the core of my own story as well. But as I began interviewing and analyzing the women’s narratives, I realized that this nostalgia was not a singular phenomenon but was, rather, deeply rooted in the women’s internalization of received messages about what it means to be female -­ messages transmitted on both the familial and societal level. Many of the women lived, often out of necessity, what might from the outside look to be feminist lives; yet almost none would describe themselves as feminists. This phenomenon piqued my curiosity, and I began addressing it in the interviews. Additionally, as I explored the literature on nostalgia, I understood its complexity within the framework of imagination and idealization.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Oral History
Thesis Advisors
Passerini, Luisella
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
February 21, 2013