New book – Beholding Disability in Renaissance England, by Allison P. Hobgood – University of Michigan Press

Beholding Disability in Renaissance England

 
Allison P. Hobgood
 
How disability and ableism took shape in Renaissance England
 

Description

Human variation has always existed, though it has been conceived of and responded to variably. Beholding Disability in Renaissance England interprets sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature to explore the fraught distinctiveness of human bodyminds and the deliberate ways they were constructed in early modernity as able, and not. Hobgood examines early modern disability, ableism, and disability gain, purposefully employing these contemporary concepts to make clear how disability has historically been disavowed—and avowed too. Thus, this book models how modern ideas and terms make the weight of the past more visible as it marks the present, and cultivates dialogue in which early modern and contemporary theoretical models are mutually informative.

Beholding Disability also uncovers crucial counterdiscourses circulating in the English Renaissance that opposed cultural fantasies of ability and had a keen sensibility toward non-normative embodiments. Hobgood reads impairments as varied as epilepsy, stuttering, disfigurement, deafness, chronic pain, blindness, and castration in order to understand not just powerful fictions of ability present during the Renaissance but also the somewhat paradoxical, surprising ways these ableist ideals provided creative fodder for many Renaissance writers and thinkers. Ultimately, Beholding Disability asks us to reconsider what we think we know about being human both in early modernity, and today.
 

Allison P. Hobgood is an Affiliated Scholar at Willamette University.

More information on the editor website.

New book – Disease and Disability in Medieval and Early Modern Art and Literature, eds. Rinaldo F. Canalis and Massimo Ciavolella – Brepols, April 2021.

 
 
Humanity has always shown a keen interest in the pathological, ranging from a morbid fascination with ‘monsters’ and deformities to a genuine compassion for the ill and suffering. Medieval and early modern people were no exception, expressing their emotional response to disease in both literary works and, to a somewhat lesser extent, in the plastic arts. Consequently, it becomes necessary to ask what motivated writers and artists to choose an illness or a disability and its physical and social consequences as subjects of aesthetic or intellectual expression. Were these works the result of an intrusion in their intent to faithfully reproduce nature, or do they reflect an intentional contrast against the pre-modern portrayal of spiritual ideals and, later, through the influence of the classics, the rediscovered importance and beauty of the human body?
The essays contained in this volume address these questions, albeit not always directly but, rather, through an analysis of the societal reactions to the threats and challenges that essentially unopposed disease and physical impairment presented. They cover a wide range of responses, variable, of course, according to the period under scrutiny, its technological moment, and the usually fruitless attempts at treatment.
 

CONTENTS:

  • Introduction and Epidemiological Perspective — Rinaldo F. Canalis and Massimo Ciavolella
 

Part I. Medieval and Transitional Periods

 
  • The Art of Medicine in Byzantium: Disease and Disability in Byzantine Manuscripts — Alain Touwaide
  • Miracle and the Monstrous: Disability and Deviant Bodies in the Late Middle Ages — Jenni Kuuliala
  • Leprosy, Melancholy, Folly and their Representations in French Medieval Literature — Gaia Gubini
  • Malady in Literary Texts from the Medieval and Early Modern Periods. Some Hypotheses on a Paradoxical Constellation — Joachim Küpper
  • Fevers, Botches and Carbuncles: Describing the Plague in Late Medieval and Early Modern Medical Treatises — Lori Jones
 

Part II. The Early Modern Period

 
  • The Role of Architecture and the Decorative Arts in Renaissance Medicine — Francis Wells
  • Art in Disease and Disease in Art: Reflections on Two Early Modern Paradigmatic Examples — Manuela Gallerani
  • The Mal Franzoso: Between Art, History and Literature: Paracelso and Della Porta — Alfonso Paolella
  • The Ailing Artist — Roberto Fedi
  • Nicolas Poussin`s The Plague at Ashdod and the French Disease — Efrain Kristal
  • ‘Yet have I in me something dangerous’: On the Interplay of Medicine and Maleficence in Shakespeare’s Hamlet — Sara Frances Burdorff
  • Textures of Lesions – Textures of Prints — Domenico Bertoloni Meli 

 

More info on the editor website

New book – Writing Old Age and Impairments in Late Medieval England by Will Rogers, ed. by Arc Humanities Press

Writing Old Age and Impairments in Late Medieval England

A ground-breaking study of old age impairments in Middle English literature and their function as prosthetic additions, which draw attention both to the debility of old age and its ability to complete and drive narrative.

Description

The old speaker in Middle English literature often claims to be impaired because of age. This admission is often followed by narratives that directly contradict it, as speakers, such as the Reeve in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales or Amans in Gower’s Confessio Amantis, proceed to perform even as they claim debility. More than the modesty topos, this contradiction exists, the book argues, as prosthesis: old age brings with it debility, but discussing age-related impairments augments the old, impaired body, while simultaneously undercutting and emphasizing bodily impairments. This language of prosthesis becomes a metaphor for the works these speakers use to fashion narrative, which exist as incomplete yet powerful sources.

Contents

Introduction: Staves and Stanzas
 
Chapter 1: Crooked as a Staff: Narrative, History, and the Disabled Body in Parlement of Thre Ages
 
Chapter 2: A Reckoning with Age: Prosthetic Violence and the Reeve
 
Chapter 3: The Past is Prologue: Following the Trace of Master Hoccleve
 
Chapter 4: Playing Prosthesis and Revising the Past: Gower’s Supplemental Role
 
Epilogue: Impotence and Textual Healing
 
 

New book – Leprosy and identity in the Middle Ages: From England to the Mediterranean, eds. Elma Brenner and François-Olivier Touati – Manchester University Press, April 2021.

 
For the first time, this volume explores the identities of leprosy sufferers and other people affected by the disease in medieval Europe. The chapters, including contributions by leading voices such as Luke Demaitre, Carole Rawcliffe and Charlotte Roberts, challenge the view that people with leprosy were uniformly excluded and stigmatised. Instead, they reveal the complexity of responses to this disease and the fine line between segregation and integration. Ranging across disciplines, from history to bioarchaeology, Leprosy and identity in the Middle Ages encompass post-medieval perspectives as well as the attitudes and responses of contemporaries. Subjects include hospital care, diet, sanctity, miraculous healing, diagnosis, iconography and public health regulation. This richly illustrated collection presents previously unpublished archival and material sources from England to the Mediterranean.
 

CONTENTS:

 
Introduction – Elma Brenner and François-Olivier Touati
 
Part I: Approaching leprosy and identity
 
  • Reflections on the bioarchaeology of leprosy and identity, past and present – Charlotte Roberts
  • Lepers and leprosy: connections between East and West in the Middle Ages – François-Olivier Touati
  • The disease and the sacred: the leper as a scapegoat in England and Normandy (eleventh-twelfth centuries) – Damien Jeanne
 
Part II: Within the leprosy hospital: between segregation and integration
 
  • ‘A mighty force in the ranks of Christ’s army’: intercession and integration in the medieval English leper hospital – Carole Rawcliffe
  • Saint Mary Magdalen, Winchester: the archaeology and history of an English leprosarium and almshouse – Simon Roffey
  • Diet as a marker of identity in the leprosy hospitals of medieval northern France – Elma Brenner
 
Part III: Beyond the leprosy hospital: the language of poverty and charity
 
  • Good people, poor sick: the social identities of lepers in the late medieval Rhineland – Lucy Barnhouse
  • The clapper as ‘vox miselli’: new perspectives on iconography – Luke Demaitre
 
Part IV: Religious and social identities
 
  • Kissing lepers: Saint Francis and the treatment of lepers in the central Middle Ages – Courtney A. Krolikoski
  • From pilgrim to knight, from monk to bishop: the distorted identities of leprosy within the Order of Saint Lazarus – Rafaël Hyacinthe
  • Connotation and denotation: the construction of the leper in Narbonne and Siena before the plague – Anna M. Peterson
 
Part V: Post-medieval perspectives
 
  • ‘Our loathsome ancestors’: reinventing medieval leprosy for the modern world, 1850-1950 – Kathleen Vongsathorn and Magnus Vollset.
 
 

New publication – Mirator Vol 2020-2 (2021): Disability in the Medieval Nordic World, Edited by Christopher Crocker.

Mirator is a multilingual peer-reviewed electronic journal devoted to medieval studies. It is published by Glossa, the Society for Medieval Studies in Finland.

Published: 2021-03-12
 

Articles

 

Open acces edition and more information on the Mirator Journal website.