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 Master of Arts
Thesis Advisors
Passerini, Luisella
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
February 21, 2013