CFP: Disability Cluster for Yearbook of Langland Studies 35 (2021)
This special cluster will explore the representations of disability and impairment in Piers Plowman. Langland reveals the ambivalent and multifaceted attitude toward disability and impairment in the 14th century. Characters in the poem often treat disabled figures with either love or skepticism. On one hand, those who are too infirm to work are excused from the demands of labor, and are deemed worthy of charity and God’s love. On the other, there are “faitours” who readily assume the guise of impairment in order to deceive and evade the duty to work. Will himself is interrogated by Reason in the C-Text about his inability to work, and he cites his own embodied difference, being too tall, as a justification. This cluster invites essays that examine disability in Piers Plowman from a variety of methodological approaches. Are there different representations of disability across the versions of the poem? How do representations of disability in the poem intersect with legal, theological, or social concerns in the 14th century? What is the role of physical, cognitive, or sensory impairment in the poem? How can we put the poem into conversation with Disability Studies? How does a consideration of disability in Piers Plowman reorient or contribute to current work on Langland? To medieval Disability Studies?
Submissions are due to the cluster editor, Richard Godden (firstname.lastname@example.org), by 30 September, 2020.