The various norms and values of aging that have been created by humans in the course of history have been largely ignored by gerontologists, who are thought to be more interested in the objective laws that govern science than in the subjective experiences that contribute to the aging process. This thought-provoking study belongs to the genre known as humanistic gerontology and it explores the attitudes toward aging as expressed by society. Outlining the cultural construction of old age and the social and psychological ramifications that are often imposed on the aged by external influences, it focuses on the status and treatment of old age and presents a portrait of aging in a cultural and historical perspective illuminated by diverse national literatures. Unlike any other book on the subject, this volume is an attempt to add to the body of knowledge that helps illustrate, explain, and bridge the dichotomy that still exists between the scientist and the humanist in the field of aging. The various contributors maintain a sensitivity to the continuing paradoxes associated with the aging condition and, using a historical framework, they analyze and interpret national literary conventions. This timely and incisive work examines the aging population as revealed in prominent national or regional literatures including Japan, China, South America, France, Russia, Germany, Austria, Great Britian, the United States, the Middle East, and samples from ancient Greek and Roman literature. Based on previous scholarly research, the volume provides a significant resource that deals with the universalities of the aging condition as expressed in diverse cultures and it extracts common themes and recurring images from the literature of those cultures. Perceptions of Aging in Literature will be read with interest by those engaged in gerontological research in the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities and it will be a welcome addition to all university libraries.