Thursday, August 26, 2010

Women and Disability in Medieval Literature

by J J Cohen

Here's my blurb for Tory Vandeventer Pearman's forthcoming book Women and Disability in Medieval Literature. Look for it in (where elese?) Palgrave's New Middle Ages series.
Disability Studies is emerging as an essential entryway for rethinking the literature and culture of the Middle Ages. By combining this important interdisciplinary approach with solid work in feminist theory, Tory Vandeventer Pearman has written a book that both medievalists and disability studies scholars will want to read. Pearman's argument is sensitive to historical context and to the complicated relationships among power, authority, textuality and body. By focusing upon disabled female characters in the literature of high medieval Britain (including Marie de France, Chaucer, Kempe, Chestre and Henryson), she elucidates the centrality of gender to the creation of able-bodiedness. Disability is, like sex, both difference and process. Analyzing femininity in tandem with disability enables newly complicated understandings of how stigma is attached to certain bodies and what roles texts play in this process of othering. Women and Disability in Medieval Literature is a lucid and compelling piece of scholarship. With this book Pearman joins Irina Metzler and Edward Wheatley as a leader in the field.

1 comment:

Tom Elrod said...

I heard Tory give an interesting talk on the Wife of Bath at Kalamazoo, so I've been looking forward to reading her book. Thanks for the heads up.