Feeling Frail and National Statistical Panic

Joan Didion in Blue Nights and the American Economy at Risk


  • Kathleen Woodward University of Washington







Author Biography

Kathleen Woodward, University of Washington

is Lockwood Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English at the University of Washington where she directs the Simpson Center for the Humanities. She is the author and editor of many books, including Statistical Panic: Cultural Politics and Poetics of Emotion (2009) and Figuring Age: Women-Bodies-Generations (1999). She is presently working on affect and Alzheimer's disease. Readers may write to Kathleen Woodward at kw1@uw.edu. 


Anton, Ted. The Longevity Seekers: Science, Business, and the Fountain of Youth. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2013.

Barbier, Gilles. Nursing Home (L’Hospice). 2002. Photog. Tim McAfee. “American Cheese.” Rev. of The American Effect: Global Perpsectives on the United States, 1990-2003. Whitney Museum, New York. New York Magazine 21 July 2003. Web. 27 July 2014.

Blackburn, Robin. Age Shock. London: Verso, 2006.

Bortz II, Walter M. “A Conceptual Framework of Frailty: A Review.” Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences 57A:5 (2002): M283-88.

Brooks, David. “Relax, We’ll Be Fine.” Op-Ed. New York Times, 6 April 2010. Web. 7 July 2014.

—. “The Democrats Rejoice.” New York Times, 23 March 2010. Web. 25 July 2014.

Cooper, Melinda. Life as Surplus: Biotechnology and Capitalism in the Neoliberal Era. Seattle: U of Washington P, 2008.

—. “Resuscitations: Stem Cells and the Crisis of Old Age.” Body & Society 12:1 (2006): 1-23.

Davis, Lennard J. Bending over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism, and Other Diffcult Positions. New York: New York UP, 2002.

Didion, Joan. Blue Nights. New York: Knopf, 2011.

“Didion’s Blue Nights, A Memoir of Love and Loss.” The Early Show. CBS News 3 Nov. 2011. Video interview. YouTube. Web. 27 July 2014.

Diggs, Jessica. “Accumulative Waste Theory of Aging.” Encyclopedia of Aging and Public Health. Ed. Sana Loue and Martha Sajatovic. New York: Springer, 2008. 74-75.

Eisen, Ben. “Market Exuberance out of Touch with Frail Economy: BIS.” MarketWatch. Wall Street Journal Digital Network 29 June 2014. Web. 27 July 2014.

Fishman, Ted E. “As Populations Age, a Chance for Younger Nations.” New York Times Magazine, 14 Oct. 2010. Web. 6 July 2014.

Flanagan, Caitlin. “The Autumn of Joan Didion.” The Atlantic. January/February 2012. Web. 28 Jan. 2013.

Foucault, Michel. “Afterword: The Subject and Power.” Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermenuetics, by Hubert L. Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow. Trans. Leslie Sawyer. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1982. 208-26.

Freud, Sigmund. “Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety” (1926). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Trans. and Ed. James Strachey. 24 vols. London: Hogarth and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1953-74. SE 20: 77-175.

Fried, Linda P., et al. “Untangling the Concepts of Disability, Frailty, and Comorbidity: Implications for Improved Targeting and Care.” Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences 59.3 (2004): 255-63.

Gadow, Sally A. “Frailty and Strength: The Dialectic of Aging.” What Does It Mean to Grow Old: Refections from the Humanities. Ed.

Thomas R. Cole and Sally A. Gadow. Durham: Duke UP, 1986. 237-43.

Gee, Ellen, and Gloria Gutman, eds. The Overselling of Population Aging: Apocalyptic Demography. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000.

Gilleard, Chris, and Paul Higgs. Ageing, Corporeality and Embodiment. London: Anthem, 2013.

Grenier, Amanda. “Construction of Frailty in the English Language, Care Practice and the Lived Experience.” Aging and Society 27 (2007): 425-45.

Grenier, Amanda, and Jill Hanley. “Older Women and ‘Frailty’: Aged, Gendered and Embodied Resistance.” Current Sociology 55.2 (2007): 211-28.

Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.

Katz, Stephen. “Alarmist Demography: Power, Knowledge and the Elderly Population.” Journal of Aging Studies 6:3 (1992): 203-25.

Kaufman, Sharon R. “The Social Construction of Frailty: An Anthropological Perspective.” Journal of Aging Studies 8.1 (1994): 45-58.

Kiernan, Stephen P. “The Transformation of Death in America.” Final Acts: Death, Dying, and the Choices We Make. Ed. Nan Bauer-Maglin and Donna Perry. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2010. 163-82.

Kleinman, Arthur. Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition. New York: Basic Books, 1988.

Medovoi, Leerom. “Nation, Globe, Hegemony: Post-Fordist Preconditions of the Transnational Turn in American Studies.” Interventions 7.2 (2005): 162-79.

Mitchell, Timothy. “Economentality: How the Future Entered Government.” Critical Inquiry 40 (2014): 479-507.

Mol, Annemarie. The Body Multiple: Ontology in Medical Practice. Durham: Duke UP, 2002.

Neilson, Brett. “Aging and Globalisation in a Moment of So-Called Crisis.” Health Sociology Review 18 (2009): 349-63.

—. “Anti-Ageing Cultures, Biopolitics and Globalization.” Cultural Studies Review 12.2 (2006): 149-64.

Peterson, Peter G. Gray Dawn: How the Coming Age Wave Will Transform America and the World. New York: Random House, 1999.

Povinelli, Elizabeth A. Economies of Abandonment: Social Belonging and Endurance in Late Liberalism. Durham: Duke UP, 2011.

Robine, Jean-Marie, and Jean-Pierre Michel. “Looking Forward to a General Theory on Population Aging.” Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences 59A.6 (2004): 590-97.

Singer, Natasha. “The Financial Time Bomb of Longer Lives.” New York Times, 16 Oct. 2010. Web 25 July 2014.

Sontag, Susan. Illness as Metaphor & AIDS and Its Metaphors. New York: Farrar, 1989.

Twigg, Julia. “Clothing, Age, and the Body: A Critical Review.” Ageing and Society 27 (2007): 285-305.

Walton, Aaron. “The Mail: A letter in response to Atul Gawande’s article (January 24, 2011).” The New Yorker, 28 Feb. 2011. Web. 5 July 2014.

Wendell, Susan. The Rejected Body. New York: Routledge, 1996.

Wearing, Sadie, Yasim Gunaratnam, and Irene Gedalof, Frailty and Debility, Spec. issue of Feminist Review III (2015).

Woodward, Kathleen. “From Virtual Cyborgs to Biological Time Bombs: Technocriticism and the Material Body.” Culture on the Brink: Ideologies of Technology. Ed. Gretchen Bender and Timothy Druckrey. Seattle: Bay P, 1994. 47-81.

—. Statistical Panic: Cultural Politics and Poetics of the Emotions. Durham: Duke UP, 2009.

—. “Frailty and the Meanings of Literature.” Vitalizing Long-Term Care: The Teaching Nursing Home and Other Perspectives. Ed. Stuart F. Spicker and Stanley R. Ingman. New York: Springer, 1984. 128-37.




How to Cite

Woodward, K. . “Feeling Frail and National Statistical Panic: Joan Didion in Blue Nights and the American Economy at Risk”. Age, Culture, Humanities: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 2, Jan. 2015, pp. 349-6, doi:10.7146/ageculturehumanities.v2i.130617.