Does speech evoke exhaustion as a subjective affect in the experience of aging? The article traces this question by navigating through the plays of Harold Pinter. Cognitive experiments and social studies on “ageism” variously approach the effect of aging on language. Inverting this causality, the article shows how the elderly “frenemies” in Pinter's No Man's Land suggest linguistic exhaustion as the affective cause (and not effect) of aging. No Man's Land offers a culmination by not only indicating this exhaustion but also by glimpsing the agency of old age in a metaphoric capture that offers resolution. Pinter aestheticizes this “no man”s land” by turning it into a poetic metaphor, which bears an implicit critique of negative ageism. Situating the poetics of aging in dramatic language and anchoring it in the debate about the “conceptual” or “linguistic” status of metaphor opens up the exact nature of Pinter's metaphors.

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