New Book – Medieval Disability Sourcebook – edited by Cameron Hunt McNabb – Punctum Books – 2019

Contributors Danielle AllorMaura BaileyLucy BarnhouseAutumn BattistaPaul A. BroylesEliza BuhrerM.W. BychowskiKaren M. CookAshley CorlissLeigh Ann CraigEmma E. DuncanWill EggersHeide EstesJoshua R. EylerMoira FitzgibbonsAnne GalanaudPierre GalanaudRachael GillibrandEammon GosselinBrandon W. HawkÁrmann JakobssonKolfinna JónatansdóttirAnne M. KoenigRebecca LaughlinKara Larson MaloneyMandy Lowell AlbertCameron Hunt McNabbSara MollerFrank M. NapolitanoSarah Edwards ObenaufLeah Pope ParkerTory V. PearmanAlicia ProtzeAlison PurnellWill RogersMarit RonenRose A. SawyerJulie SingerKisha G. TracyKurt SchreyerShayne SimahkTaylor SpeckerAlyssa StantonJeffery G. StoyanoffKellyn Welch

The field of disability studies significantly contributes to contemporary discussions of the marginalization of and social justice for individuals with disabilities. However, what of disability in the past? The Medieval Disability Sourcebook explores what medieval texts have to say about disability, both in their own time and for the present.

This interdisciplinary volume combines historical records, medical texts, and religious accounts of saints’ lives and miracles, as well as poetry, prose, drama, and manuscript images to demonstrate the varied and complicated attitudes medieval societies had about disability. Far from recording any monolithic understanding of disability in the Middle Ages, these contributions present a striking range of voices—to, from, and about those with disabilities—and such diversity only confirms how disability permeated (and permeates) every aspect of life.

The Medieval Disability Sourcebook is designed for use inside the undergraduate or graduate classroom or by scholars interested in learning more about the field. Most texts are presented in modern English, though some are preserved in Middle English and many are given in side-by-side translations for greater study. Each entry is prefaced with an academic introduction to disability within the text as well as a bibliography for further study.


I) Introduction

By Cameron Hunt McNabb

II) Historical and Medical Documents

  • York Cause Paper E.92: Redyng c. Boton By Alison Purnell
  • Mental Competency Inquisitions from Medieval England By Eliza Buhrer
  • Nuremberg Town Records: Select Entries Pertaining to the Mad and Intellectually Disabled By Anne M. Koenig
  • Tax Relief Requests from Medieval Dijon By Anne Galanaud and Pierre Galanaud
  • Examining for Leprosy in the Fifteenth Century By Lucy Barnhouse Arzneibuch, “On Madness,” Ortolf of Baierland By Anne M. Koenig

III) Religious Texts

Biblical Excerpts

  • Selected Episodes on Healing and Disability from the Vulgate Bible – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John By Will Eggers
  • Miracles in Apocryphal Infancy Narratives By Brandon W. Hawk

Biblical Commentary

  • Catholic Homilies 1.10, Ælfric of Eynsham By Brandon W. Hawk
  • The City of God against the Pagans, Augustine of Hippo By Leah Pope Parker

Miracle Accounts

  • A Miracle of Thomas Becket: De puero syntectino (Concerning a boy suffering from a wasting disease), William of Canterbury By Rose A. Sawyer
  • Njáls Saga By Kolfinna Jónatansdóttir
  • The Life and Passion of William of Norwich, Thomas of Monmouth By Sarah Edwards
  • Obenauf Testimony from the Canonization Proceedings of Charles of Blois By Leigh Ann Craig
  • On the Miracle of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Bernard Gui By Leigh Ann Craig

Saints’ Vitae

  • The Prose Life of Cuthbert, Bede By Marit Ronen
  • The Life of St. Margaret of Antioch By Leah Pope Parker
  • Life of Mary of Oegines By Kisha G. Tracy and Alicia Protze

IV) Poetry

  • Bisclavret, Marie de France By Kisha G. Tracy
  • The Book of Hope, Alain Chartier By Julie Singer

The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer

  • The Merchant’s Tale By Moira Fitzgibbons
  • The Man of Law’s Prologue and Tale By Paul A. Broyles
  • The Wife of Bath’s Portrait, Prologue, and Tale By Tory V. Pearman
  • Dame Sirith By Danielle Allor
  • Tale of Constance, John Gower By Will Rogers
  • Complaint, Thomas Hoccleve By Will Rogers
  • Sir Orfeo By Joshua R. Eyler and Emma E. Duncan

V) Prose

  • The Book of Margery Kempe By M. W. Bychowski

Ecclesiastical History, Bede

  • Menstruation, Infirmity, Religious Observance, and The Miracles of King Oswald By Heide Estes
  • Physical Disability, Muteness, Pregnancy, Possession, and Alcoholism By Maura Bailey, Autumn Battista, Ashley Corliss, Eammon Gosselin, Rebecca Laughlin, Sara Moller, Shayne Simahk, Taylor Specker, Alyssa Stanton, Kellyn Welch, and Kisha G. Tracy
  • The Lancelot-Grail Cycle Evadeam, the Dwarf Knight By Kara Larson Maloney
  • Morkinskinna By Ármann Jakobsson
  • Heimskringla, Snorri Sturluson Ólafs saga helga By Ármann Jakobsson
  • The Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson By Kolfinna Jónatansdóttir

VI) Drama

The Chester Cycle

  • Cure of the Blind Man By Kurt Schreyer
  • Christ and the Leper By Kurt Schreyer
  • The York Cycle Entry into Jerusalem By Frank M. Napolitano
  • The N-Town Plays The Nativity By Jeffery G. Stoyanoff
  • Croxton Play of the Sacrament By Cameron Hunt McNabb Lippijn By Mandy Lowell Albert

VII) Images

  • The Smithfield Decretals By Rachael Gillibrand
  • Visible and Invisible Impairments in Images of Medieval Musicians By Karen M. Cook


Cameron Hunt McNabb is Assoc. Professor of English at Southeastern University. Her primary research interests include disability studies and early drama, and she has published in numerous journals, including Early Theatre, Neophilologus, Studies in Philology, and Pedagogy. Her chapter “Staging Disability in Medieval Drama” is forthcoming in the Ashgate Research Companion to Medieval Disability Studies (Routledge, 2018). She is a strong advocate for undergraduate research, and she and her students have contributed two entries to the Medieval Disability Glossary.

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