At eighty-two, Florida Scott-Maxwell felt impelled to write about her strong reactions to being old, and to the time in which we live. Until almost the end this document was not intended for anyone to see, but the author finally decided that she wanted her thoughts and feelings to reach others. Mrs. Scott-Maxwell writes: “I was astonished to find how intensely one lives in one’s eighties. The last years seemed a culmination and by concentrating on them one became more truly oneself. Though old, I felt full of potential life. It pulsed in me even as I was conscious of shrinking into a final form which it was my task and stimulus to complete.” The territory of the old is not Scott-Maxwell’s only concern. In taking the measure of the sum of her days as a woman of the twentieth century, she confronts some of the most disturbing conflicts of human nature—the need for differentiation as against equality, the recognition of the evil forces in our nature—and her insights are challenging and illuminating. The vision that emerges from her accumulated experience of life makes this a remarkable document that speaks to all ages.
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