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Online Talk: Charles Lamb and Modern Disability

October 7, 2023 @ 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM CDT

All welcome to this free online talk for the Charles Lamb Society by Professor Emily Stanback

Charles Lamb was one of the first thinkers and authors to theorize “disability” in its modern sense—as, among other things, a social and political identity, and a cultural and artistic resource. In this talk Prof. Stanback will highlight some of the many ways that Lamb engages disability in his published work, from the theoretical (for example, his insights into how disability can reshape our sense of time and space) to the sociopolitical (for example, the prevalence of disabled beggars on London’s streets).

Prof. Stanback writes,

“Importantly, I will center Lamb as disabled in this talk, not just because he might be so considered in the twenty-first century, but also because in his life and in his writing he claimed an identity that centered his non-normative bodymind. Lamb’s essays and poetry enable the reader to appreciate the enriching value of the disability he depicts. But I will suggest that his life also exemplifies the importance of disability experience–how it can foster insight and inform ethical orientation. A focus on disability allows us to pinpoint some of the reasons why Lamb still teaches, moves, and entertains so many of us two centuries on.”

Professor Emily B. Stanback works at the intersections of British Romantic literature, disability studies, the health humanities, and the histories of medicine and science. Her ground-breaking book, The Wordsworth-Coleridge Circle and the Aesthetics of Disability (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) argues for the importance of disability to authors of the Wordsworth-Coleridge circle. By examining texts in a variety of genres―ranging from self-experimental medical texts to lyric poetry to metaphysical essays―the book demonstrates the extent to which non-normative embodiment was central to Romantic-era thought and Romantic-era aesthetics. You can read more about it at https://www.bars.ac.uk/blog/?p=3419

Emily is co-director of The Gravestone Project, a digital humanities collective that seeks to center the methodologies of the humanities and arts to investigate aspects of 17th- to 19th-century memorials and memorial cultures. She is also founding co-editor of the Keats Letters Project, which publishes critical and creative responses to the letters of poet John Keats.


October 7, 2023
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM CDT
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