New book (Open Access!) – Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World – edited by Monica H. Green

Description

This ground-breaking book brings together scholars from the humanities and social and physical sciences to address the question of how recent work in the genetics, zoology, and epidemiology of plague’s causative organism (Yersinia pestis) can allow a rethinking of the Black Death pandemic and its larger historical significance.

Contents

  1. Introducing The Medieval Globe, by Carol Symes
  2. Editor’s Introduction to Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World, by Monica H. Green
  3. Taking “Pandemic” Seriously: Making the Black Death Global, by Monica H. Green
  4. The Black Death and Its Consequences for the Jewish Community in Tàrrega: Lessons from History and Archeology, by Anna Colet, Josep Xavier Muntané i Santiveri, Jordi Ruíz Ventura, Oriol Saula, M. Eulàlia Subirà de Galdàcano, and Clara Jauregui
  5. The Anthropology of Plague: Insights from Bioarcheological Analyses of Epidemic Cemeteries, by Sharon N. DeWitte
  6. Plague Depopulation and Irrigation Decay in Medieval Egypt, by Stuart Borsch
  7. Plague Persistence in Western Europe: A Hypothesis, by Ann G. Carmichael
  8. New Science and Old Sources: Why the Ottoman Experience of Plague Matters, by Nükhet Varlik
  9. Heterogeneous Immunological Landscapes and Medieval Plague: An Invitation to a New Dialogue between Historians and Immunologists, by Fabian Crespo and Matthew B. Lawrenz
  10. The Black Death and the Future of the Plague, by Michelle Ziegler
  11. Epilogue: A Hypothesis on the East Asian Beginnings of the Yersinia pestis Polytomy, by Robert Hymes
  12. Featured Source
  13. Diagnosis of a “Plague” Image: A Digital Cautionary Tale, by Monica H. Green, Kathleen Walker-Meikle, and Wolfgang P. Müller

More infos and FREE open access on the editor website

New book – Literature and Intellectual Disability in Early Modern England: Folly, Law and Medicine, 1500-1640 by Alice Equestri, published by Routledge

Fools and clowns were widely popular characters employed in early modern drama, prose texts and poems mainly as laughter makers, or also as ludicrous metaphorical embodiments of human failures. Literature and Intellectual Disability in Early Modern England: Folly, Law and Medicine, 1500-1640 pays full attention to the intellectual difference of fools, rather than just their performativity: what does their total, partial, or even pretended ‘irrationality’ entail in terms of non-standard psychology or behaviour, and others’ perception of them? Is it possible to offer a close contextualised examination of the meaning of folly in literature as a disability? And how did real people having intellectual disabilities in the Renaissance period influence the representation and subjectivity of literary fools?

Alice Equestri answers these and other questions by investigating the wide range of significant connections between the characters and Renaissance legal and medical knowledge as presented in legal records, dictionaries, handbooks, and texts of medicine, natural philosophy, and physiognomy. Furthermore, by bringing early modern folly in closer dialogue with the burgeoning fields of disability studies and disability theory, this study considers multiple sides of the argument in the historical disability experience: intellectual disability as a variation in the person and as a difference which both society and the individual construct or respond to. Early modern literary fools’ characterisation then emerges as stemming from either a realistic or also from a symbolical or rhetorical representation of intellectual disability.

Introduction: Fools, from Popular Culture to Disability Studies

Section 1: Law

2. The Legal Discourse of ‘Idiocy’ on the Stage and Page

3. ‘A fool and his money are soon parted’: the Fool and Property

4. ‘An you knew my properties somebody would ha’ me’: the Fool as a Ward

Section 2: Medicine and Physiognomy

5. Nature, Wits and Skulls: the Fool’s Head

6. Intellectual, Sensory and Physical Disability: the Fool’s Body and Face

7. Rationalising Fools’ Disability: Causes and Risk Factors

8. Epilogue: Intellectual Disability, Embodiment and Humour in Early Modern Literature

Alice Equestri is a researcher and lecturer in early modern English literature at the University of Padua. Between 2017 and 2019, she was a Marie Sklodowska-Curie researcher at the University of Sussex. She is the author of ‘Armine… Thou Art a Foole and Knave’: The Fools of Shakespeare’s Romances (2016) and has published on folly in early modern culture, on Shakespeare’s last plays, and on Renaissance translation.

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