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 book – Plague Image and Imagination from Medieval to Modern Times – ed. by Lynteris, Christos – Palgrave Macmillan

Presents a history of plague, bringing together scholars from early modern and modern history as well as anthropologists working on plague in historical and contemporary contexts

Examines the visual record of the plague and explores the relationship between the epidemic image and human imagination

Integrates geographical perspectives beyond the usual Eurocentric plague frame, appealing to scholars of global history and colonialism

This edited collection brings together new research by world-leading historians and anthropologists to examine the interaction between images of plague in different temporal and spatial contexts, and the imagination of the disease from the Middle Ages to today. The chapters in this book illuminate to what extent the image of plague has not simply reflected, but also impacted the way in which the disease is experienced in different historical periods. The book asks what is the contribution of the entanglement between epidemic image and imagination to the persistence of plague as a category of human suffering across so many centuries, in spite of profound shifts in our medical understanding of the disease. What is it that makes plague such a visually charismatic subject? And why is the medical, religious and lay imagination of plague so consistently determined by the visual register? In answering these questions, this volume takes the study of plague images beyond its usual, art-historical framework, so as to examine them and their relation to the imagination of plague from medical, historical, visual anthropological, and postcolonial perspectives.

More info on the editor website

New book – Il était une fois la différence – Les archéologues racontent le handicap, Valérie DELATTRE (autrice), Vincent BERGIER (Illustrateur), dès 9 ans


Il était une fois la différence – Les archéologues racontent le handicap, Valérie DELATTRE (autrice), Vincent BERGIER (Illustrateur), dès 9 ans

Les découvertes archéologiques permettent aujourd’hui d’avoir une idée plus précise de ce qu’a été la vie des personnes handicapées à différentes époques. C’est une nouvelle histoire, celle de la différence, qui se dessine.

Force est de constater que les efforts pour l’intégration des personnes handicapées dans nos sociétés modernes ne sont toujours pas à la hauteur des progrès de l’humanité. Mais il est intéressant d’interroger l’histoire des hommes pour savoir si cette différence que crée le handicap a toujours existé. Que se passait-il dans les sociétés anciennes ? À travers les découvertes des archéologues et des anthropologues, on est étonné d’apprendre que, dès l’époque du Néolithique, on pratiquait des trépanations et des amputations qui permettaient à certains de poursuivre leur vie. On fabriquait également des prothèses qui leur facilitaient certains mouvements ou leur permettaient de se déplacer. Dans la Grèce antique, les blessés de guerre athéniens percevaient une pension. En revanche, chez les Romains, les personnes handicapées étaient l’objet de railleries, même si on savait les appareiller le cas échéant.
L’histoire du handicap qui est racontée dans ce livre nous en apprend beaucoup sur l’évolution des relations humaines et des groupes sociaux. C’est aussi l’histoire de la tolérance.

 

Informations sur le site de l’éditeur

Interview de Valérie Delattre sur le site de l’Inrap.