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The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability


Part of Cambridge Companions to Literature

Clare Barker, Stuart Murray, Edward Wheatley, Allison P. Hobgood, David Houston Wood, Essaka Joshua, Martha Stoddard Holmes, Michael Davidson, Alison Kafer, Eunjung Kim, Robert McRuer, Michelle Jarman, Sami Schalk, Ria Cheyne, G. Thomas Couser, Jay Dolmage, Petra Kuppers
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  • Date Published: November 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107458130

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About the Authors
  • This Companion analyzes the representation of disability in literatures in English, including American and postcolonial writing, across all major time periods and through a variety of critical approaches. Through the alternative ideas of mind and embodiment generated by physiological and psychological impairments, an understanding of disability narrative changes the way we read literature. With contributions from major figures in literary disability studies, The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability covers a wide range of impairments, including cognitive difference, neurobehavioral conditions, and mental and chronic illnesses. This book shows how disability demands innovation in literary form and aesthetics, challenges the notion of a human 'norm' in the writing of character, and redraws the ways in which writing makes meaning of the broad spectrum of humanity. It will be a key resource for students and teachers of disability and literary studies.

    • Unpacks the workings of disability representation across a range of historical periods, cultural locations, literary genres and theoretical approaches to literature, therefore informing students and readers about the cross-disciplinary methodologies
    • The book will not only invigorate the study of canonical literary texts with a critical focus on disability, but will also point to important lesser-known works in which disability is central to productive readings of plot, character and theme
    • Examines literature ranging across literary periods and critical approaches, as well as from American and Postcolonial contexts (with specific chapters devoted to each), making this volume global in its focus
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… an excellent collection of writing on representation.' Amanda Tink, Sydney Review of Books

    '… is an essential resource for scholars, academics and those with personal interest in the depiction and portrayal of disability narratives both historical and contemporary.' Heather Lacey, British Society for Literature and Science Reviews

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107458130
    • length: 280 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: on reading disability in literature Clare Barker and Stuart Murray
    Part I. Across Literatures:
    2. Monsters, saints, and sinners: disability in Medieval literature Edward Wheatley
    3. Early modern literature and disability studies Allison P. Hobgood and David Houston Wood
    4. Disability and deformity: function impairment and aesthetics in the long eighteenth century Essaka Joshua
    5. Embodying affliction in nineteenth-century fiction Martha Stoddard Holmes
    6. Paralyzed modernities and biofutures: bodies and minds in modern literature Michael Davidson
    7. The ambiguities of inclusion: disability in contemporary literature Stuart Murray
    8. 'Radiant affliction': disability narratives in postcolonial literature Clare Barker
    Part II. Across Critical Methods:
    9. Disability and the edges of intersectionality Alison Kafer and Eunjung Kim
    10. The world-making potential of contemporary crip/queer literary and cultural production Robert McRuer
    11. Race and disability in US literature Michelle Jarman
    12. Disability and women's writing Sami Schalk
    13. Disability in genre fiction Ria Cheyne
    14. Signifying selves: disability and life writing G. Thomas Couser
    15. Disability rhetorics Jay Dolmage
    16. Afterword Petra Kuppers.

  • Editors

    Clare Barker, University of Leeds
    Clare Barker is Lecturer in English Literature (Medical Humanities) at the University of Leeds. She is the author of Postcolonial Fiction and Disability: Exceptional Children, Metaphor and Materiality (2011), and has co-edited two special issues of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, on 'Disabling Postcolonialism' (with Stuart Murray, 2010) and 'Disability and Indigeneity' (with Siobhan Senier, 2013). Her research focuses on representations of disability, health, and biomedicine in postcolonial literatures and film.

    Stuart Murray, University of Leeds
    Stuart Murray is Professor of Contemporary Literatures and Film at the University of Leeds, where he is also Director of the Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities. He began working in disability studies following the diagnosis of his two sons with autism in 2002, taught the first course in a UK university on representations of disability in literature and film, and was the founding editor of the UK's first publishing series focused on representations of health and disability: Representations: Health, Disability, Culture and Society. His book Representing Autism (2008) was the first critical monograph on the topic, while Autism (2012) was the launch book in Routledge's Integrating Science and CulturE series.


    Clare Barker, Stuart Murray, Edward Wheatley, Allison P. Hobgood, David Houston Wood, Essaka Joshua, Martha Stoddard Holmes, Michael Davidson, Alison Kafer, Eunjung Kim, Robert McRuer, Michelle Jarman, Sami Schalk, Ria Cheyne, G. Thomas Couser, Jay Dolmage, Petra Kuppers

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