When Does Old Become Too Old?


  • Kathleen Woodward University of Washington




“For Voters, When Does Old Become Too Old?”: this question heads the February 9, 2024 subscriber-only piece by Nate Cohn in The New York Times referring to the presumptive presidential contest in the U.S. between Joseph Biden and Donald Trump. The answer? “Polling shows it’s a broad concern expressed about President Biden, not just one person’s opinion.” Cohn’s piece, which prompted 1236 comments that very day (they constitute my dataset for this reflection), is only one in an avalanche in the news and on social media in the U.S. and beyond that provides us with a window into attitudes toward aging in general and aging in relation to the American presidency in particular.       

Author Biography

Kathleen Woodward, University of Washington

Director of the Simpson Center for the Humanities, is Lockwood Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English at the University of Washington. She is the author of Statistical Panic: Cultural Politics and Poetics of Emotions (2009), Aging and Its Discontents: Freud and Other Fictions (1991), and At Last, the Real Distinguished Thing: The Late Poems of Eliot, Pound, Stevens, and Williams (1980). She is also the editor of Figuring Age: Women, Bodies, Generations (1999) as well as the coeditor of Memory and Desire: Aging--Literature--Psychoanalysis (1986), and Aging and the Elderly: Humanistic Perspectives in Gerontology (1978).




How to Cite

Woodward, K. “When Does Old Become Too Old?”. Age, Culture, Humanities: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 8, Apr. 2024, doi:10.7146/ageculturehumanities.v8i.144464.