Stay tuned for annotations and additional entries.

Altschuler, Sari. “Disability.” Journal of the Early Republic, vol. 43 no. 1, 2023, p. 121-129, doi:10.1353/jer.2023.0008.

  • Altschuler offers a wide-ranging discussion of disability history and scholarship in the context of the early United States.

Andrews, Jonathan. “The (Un)Dress of the Mad Poor in England, c.1650—1850. Part 1.” History of Psychiatry, vol. 18, no. 1, Mar. 2007, pp. 005–24. DOI:10.1177/0957154X07067245.

  • From abstract: “Part 1 of this paper discusses the representation of the mad poor in literature and (to a lesser extent) art, emphasizing how commonly they are found in states of undress. It delineates the meanings behind such portrayals…”

—. “The (Un)Dress of the Mad Poor in England, c.1650—1850. Part 2.” History of Psychiatry, vol. 18, no. 2, June 2007, pp. 131–56. DOI:10.1177/0957154X06067246.

  • From abstract: “The second part of this paper assesses how far the dominant imagery of the (un)dress of the mad poor … corresponds with actual conditions and provisions for the poor insane as revealed in institutional and documentary sources. This is necessarily attempted through a selective sample of sources, in particular clothing procurement for the poor insane as chronicled in parochial records. More especially, the documentary accuracy of prevailing cultural representations is assessed through a case study of the records of Bethlehem … Hospital…”

Andrews, Jonathan, and Andrew Scull. Customers and Patrons of the Mad-Trade: The Management of Lunacy in Eighteenth-Century London: With the Complete Text of John Monro’s 1766 Case Book. U of California P, 2002, doi:10.1525/j.ctt1ppz15.

Beenstock, Zoe. “Looking at Sympathy in Wordsworth’s Disability Poetry.” Romanticism, vol. 26, no. 1, 2020, pp. 62-74, DOI:10.3366/rom.2020.0448.

  • From abstract: “Wordsworth’s poems about disability … posit the encounter with impairment as central to feelings of sympathy. Consequently, these poems are usually read as advocating the inclusion of people with disabilities. This article argues that Wordsworth’s poems about disability reify a pattern of liberal identity that posits impairment as an obstacle to subjecthood reflecting Wordsworth’s misreading of Adam Smith’s moral theory. Departing from Smith’s argument that disability is socially constructed, Wordsworth separates disabled and able-bodied lives into separate spheres, mediated by a voyeuristic aesthetic. As a result, characters with disabilities arouse intense curiosity and yearning in Wordsworth’s poems, but also remain a spectacle of dependence and an adjunct to able identity.”

Benedict, Leah. “Generic Failures and Imperfect Enjoyments: Rochester and the Anatomy of Impotence.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction 28, no. 1 (2015), doi:10.3138/ecf.28.1.59.

  • From abstract: “This article demonstrates how the silence around physical desire found in such thinkers as Regnier de Graaf and Walter Charleton found a voice in John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester’s poem ‘The Imperfect Enjoyment’ and in the under-appreciated Rochesterian drama Sodom and Gomorah. These literary revisions of scientific inquiry use coital mishaps to explore the ways in which anatomical and philosophical models of sexual congress create and impinge upon sociality.”

—. “Impotence made Public: Reading Sex on the Stage and in the Courtroom.” ELH, vol. 85, no. 2, 2018, pp. 441-469. DOI:10.1353/elh.2018.0017.

  • From abstract: “This essay argues that a dynamic exchange among legal, medical, and theatrical works codified a new visual vocabulary of sexual health. … Both the courtroom and the stage valued external evaluation over self-assessment, and between them they taught their audience that future satisfaction must be assured by a committee and an archive of documentation. … Even as they cast doubt upon the sexual forensics of the courts, the evidentiary procedures of these plays comically demonstrate the power of bureaucratic interventions in the sexual lives of their subjects.”

—. “The Impotent Husband: Debility and Discord in Ned Ward’s Nuptial Dialogues.” Castration, Impotence, and Emasculation in the Long Eighteenth Century. Edited by Anne Greenfield. Routledge, 2020, pp. 47 – 65. DOI:10.4324/9781003005407-3.

  • From abstract: “This chapter explores how Ward’s Nuptial Dialogues reflect the growing anxieties of impotence in the early eighteenth century and illustrate how marriage was positioned to both soothe and aggravate the condition. The long history of the word encapsulates household management, mastery, frugality, and cultivation, but also breeding, fecundity, and sex. As the opening epigraph illustrates, the word was saturated by natural metaphors of replenishment, protection, and productivity. A husband must be able to execute specific bodily actions to maintain his designation and to retain his legal relationship with his wife; the assumptions of what physical motions a man must perform were thus cemented into the state of being a husband. … References to impotence … are often used as ammunition against the husband even when other conditions—such as drunkenness, salaciousness, surliness, or melancholia—are the subject of Ned Ward’s lampoon. The tender husband could easily allow her to assume the blame and encourage her feelings of guilt.”

Blackie, Daniel. “Disability.” Encyclopedia of the New American Nation, edited by Paul Finkelman, vol. 1, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006, pp. 391-392.

—. “Disability and Work During the Industrial Revolution in Britain,” The Oxford Handbook of Disability History, edited by Michael Rembis, Catherine Kudlick, and Kim E. Nielsen. Oxford U P, 2018, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190234959.013.11.

—. “Disability, Dependency, and the Family in the Early United States.” Disability Histories. Edited by Susan Burch, and Michael Rembis. U of Illinois P, 2014, pp. 17-34.

—. “Revolutionary War Veterans, Disabled,” Encyclopedia of the Veteran in America, edited by William Pencak. ABC-CLIO, 2009, pp. 349 – 353.

Bodammer, Eleoma. “Disability Studies and New Directions in Eighteenth-Century German Studies.” Goethe Yearbook 28. Edited by Patricia Anne Simpson, Birgit Tautz, and Sean Franzel. 3rd Party US, 2021, doi:10.1353/gyr.2021.0017.

Borsay, Anne. “Returning Patients to the Community: Disability, Medicine and Economic Rationality before the Industrial Revolution.” Disability & Society, vol. 13, no. 5, 1998, pp. 645-63. DOI:10.1080/09687599826443.

  • From abstract: “This paper offers an interpretation of physical impairment in eighteenth-century Britain which challenges the view that disability was largely a product of industrial capitalism. …attention turns to a case study of the General Infirmary at Bath, founded in 1739 to grant ‘poor cripples and other indigent strangers’ access to the spa waters. Dedicated to the prevailing moral economy of mercantilism, the Bath Infirmary sought to return its patients to the community in a state of physical and moral fitness. The economic implications of this objective are discussed in relation to the work imperative, the therapeutic performance of the institution and the age/sex characteristics of its clientele. The political implications are discussed in relation to the practice of medicine and the pursuit of an orderly society. It is concluded that medical charity points to incompatibilities between impairment and economic rationality in advance of the Industrial Revolution.”

Bowles, Emily. “Fatally Enjoy’d: Rape, Resilience, and the Accessibility in Aphra Behn’s The Dumb Virgin.” Aphra Behn Online, vol. 2, no. 1, 2012, pp. 0-14. DOI:10.5038/2157-7129.2.1.1.

—. “Maternal Culpability in Fetal Defects: Aphra Behn’s Satiric Interrogations of Medical Models.” Recovering Disability in Early Modern England, edited by Allison P. Hobgood and David Houston Wood, Ohio State U P, 2013, pp. 43–56.

Bradshaw, Michael, editor. Disabling Romanticism. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Branch, Katie, Clemma Fleat, Nicola Grove, Tim Lumley Smith, and Robin Meader. “Peter the ‘Wild Boy’: What Peter Means to Us.” Intellectual Disability: A Conceptual Disability, 1200-1900, edited by Patrick McDonagh, C. F. Goodey, and Tim Stainton, pp. 148-61. Manchester U P, 2018. DOI:10.7765/9781526125323.00015.

Brewer, William D. “Mary Robinson’s Paralysis and the Discourse of Disability.” Disabling Romanticism, edited by Michael Bradshaw, pp. 105-126. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-46064-6_6.

  • From abstract: “Brewer examines the contemporary reception of Robinson’s impairment within the context of the Romantic-era debate about how disability should be responded to and interpreted. … Brewer argues that Robinson understood disability as a social construction: she regarded herself as abled as long as her financial resources and care-givers permitted her to have a social life, write prolifically, and visit London’s cultural sites. According to the posthumous and not entirely reliable ‘Continuation’ of The Memoirs of the Late Mrs Robinson (1801), her paralysis motivated her to embark on an astoundingly productive literary career. Physical disability inspired compositional hyperability.”

Chandler, David. “‘in Mental as in Visual Darkness Lost’: Southey’s Songs for a Mad King.” Disabling Romanticism, edited by Michael Bradshaw, pp. 87-103. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-46064-6_5.

  • Abstract: “Chandler locates interest and importance in Robert Southey’s (largely unread and ridiculed) Laureate poetry by considering its responses to George III, mentally ill, blind, and virtually deaf. To discuss the King at all in the difficult situation of a Regency was audacious, and reflects Southey’s strong identification with the King rather than the Regent. The focus is on Southey’s A Vision of Judgement, in which the stricken George III acquires the status of a national myth. In this final statement as George III’s Laureate, Southey turns the King into a redemptive Christ-like figure whose blindness and ‘madness’ metonymically represent the blindness and madness of the whole generation, Southey included, who had been seduced by the promise of Wilkesite or French ‘liberty’. Chandler attempts to recuperate a sense, not just of the importance of Southey’s Laureate poetry, but of the role of George III and his illness in the public imagination.”

Chueh, Difeng. “Beauplaisir as a Disabled Libertine in Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina; Or Love in a Maze.” Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities, vol. 13, no. 2, 2021, pp. 1-10, doi:10.21659/RUPKATHA.V13N2.07.

  • From abstract: “This paper aims to explore Beauplaisir’s disabled libertine identity … in order to understand how ‘disability’ was conceptualized by eighteenth-century authors. … …Beauplaisir constructs his abled libertine identity through his observation skills. In fact, Beauplaisir’s observation skills also render him disabled. Haywood’s portrayal of Beauplaisir’s disabled libertine identity offers another way to examine meanings of disability in eighteenth-century literary works. As I will contend, the definition of ‘disability’ was not limited to a person’s physical or mental impairment… Instead, an eighteenth-century person could become disabled when s/he lost certain qualifications for becoming a member of a particular group. … …Beauplaisir’s disabled libertine identity is a result of his being excluded from the abled libertine group. This exclusion results from a trick imposed on him by Fantomina. Thus, examinations of Beauplaisir’s disabled libertine identity will point out another side of ‘disability.'”

Cleall, Esme, and Onni Gust. “Disability as a Problem of Humanity in Scottish Enlightenment Thought.” The Historical Journal, vol. 65, no. 2, 2021, pp. 328-348. doi:10.1017/S0018246X21000133.

  • From abstract: “This article makes a case that disability, particularly visual, hearing, and speech impairments, played a significant role in Scottish Enlightenment thought. Focusing on the work of Dugald Stewart, and in particular on his essay ‘Some account of a boy born blind and deaf’, we argue that disability was a deep preoccupation of Scottish Enlightenment thinkers who used it as a test case for various important philosophical questions including those concerning ‘human nature’ and the limits of humanity.”

Crawford, Katherine. “Desiring Castrates, Or how to Create Disabled Social Subjects.” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, vol. 16, no. 2, 2016, pp. 59-90, doi:10.1353/jem.2016.0011.

  • From abstract: “Early modern interlocutors variously understood castrates to be deficient, excessive, or perverse in desire because of the physiological and social effects of being deprived of functional testicles. Denied access to normative modes of social and sexual legibility — in addition to being unable to father children, they generally could not marry — castrates nonetheless attempted to frame their desire in gender-normative terms. But the multiple and contradictory readings of the castrate body as defective and insufficient in terms of gender legibility facilitated the rendering of castrates as transgendered, disabled subjects.”

Davies, Jeremy. “A Hundred Tongues: George Darley’s Stammer.” Disabling Romanticism, edited by Michael Bradshaw, pp. 191-210. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-46064-6_10.

  • Abstract: “This chapter explores the literary history of stammering through a reading of the neglected late Romantic poet George Darley (1795–1846). Darley’s lifelong stammer has often seemed to justify reading his work as engaged in a poetics of failure and incapacity. Davies presents new evidence showing that for several crucial years of his career Darley believed that his stammer had been more or less resolved by the celebrated speech therapist John Broster. Reconsidering the relationship between Darley’s creative project and his verbal impediment, Davies argues that the poet conceived of his disability and its treatment as an education in linguistic craftsmanship. Davies locates Broster’s ‘secret’ therapeutic method within the history of treatments for stammering, and reads one of Darley’s most significant works, the comic pastoral drama Sylvia; or, The May Queen (1827), as a fantasised version of Broster’s cure. Sylvia proposes that disability can itself give rise to a strategy for overcoming minority, and becomes a declaration of creative difference.”

De Luca, Federica et al.”‘Heal the sick’: Health status and caregiving during the 17th–18th century in Northern Italy (St. Biagio cemetery, Ravenna).” American Journal of Biological Anthropology, 2023, pp.1-16, DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.24861.

Deutsch, Helen. “Exemplary Aberration: Samuel Johnson and the English Canon.” Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities, edited by Sharon L. Snyder et al., Modern Language Association of America, 2002, pp. 197–210.

—. “The ‘Truest Copies’ and the ‘Mean Original’: Pope, Deformity, and the Poetics of Self-Exposure.” Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 27, no. 1, 1993, pp. 1-26. DOI:10.2307/2739275.

  • Abstract: “Alexander Pope’s deformity becomes his most powerful weapon in his fight to win authority and authenticity from both the literary workplace and his literary-canonical predecessors. A series of verbal and visual portraits of Pope, some by the poet himself, is examined in order to articulate this career-long struggle for control over the authorial image.”

Dickie, Simon. Cruelty and Laughter: Forgotten Comic Literature and the Unsentimental Eighteenth Century. U of Chicago P, 2011.

—. “Deformity Poems and Other Nasties.” Eighteenth-Century Life, vol. 41, no. 1, 2017, pp. 197-230 doi:10.1215/00982601-3696175.

—-.. “Hilarity and Pitilessness in the Mid-Eighteenth Century: English Jestbook Humor.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 37, no. 1 (Fall 2003): 1–22, doi:10.1353/ecs.2003.0060.

Dirks, Whitney. “‘Weighty Celebrity’: Corpulency, Monstrosity, and Freakery in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century England.” Disability Studies Quarterly, vol. 39, no. 3, 2019,

  • From abstract: “This article contextualizes historical corpulency in terms of early modern monstrosity and nineteenth-century freakery, with additional input from the modern Fat Studies and Disability Studies movements, in order to explore public consciousness about and fascination with particularly obese individuals, epitomized by the fattest men of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: … Edward Bright and … Daniel Lambert. …this essay argues that, though extremely corpulent individuals needed to exist in the first place in order to be incorporated into the show circuit, it was society’s fascination with these new, unusual bodies that allowed them to rise into prominence as an entertainment feature in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England.”

Dryden, Jane. “Disability, Teleology, and Human Development in German Idealism: Exploring Disability in the History of Philosophy.” The Journal of Philosophy of Disability, vol. 3, 2023, pp. 147-78, doi:

  • Abstract: “German idealist philosophers Kant and Hegel, who have had a significant influence on contemporary social and political theory, both insist on universal human freedom and dignity. However, they maintain teleological frameworks of human development which depend on distancing free and rational human agency from nature, leaving animality and “savageness” behind for a rational and spiritually developed future. This has implications for their implicit and explicit accounts of disability, which risk being reiterated today: insofar as disability is associated with being a static product of nature, these frameworks situate it at best as that which must be overcome, and at worst as something that bars someone from full humanity. Recognizing and understanding the place of disability within their work is vital if we want to avoid their exclusions in our inherited ideas.”

Farr, Jason S. “Colonizing Gestures: Crusoe, the Signing Sovereign.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 29, no. 4, 2017, pp. 537-562, doi:10.3138/ecf.29.4.537.

  • Abstract: “This article offers a reading of the colonialist and ableist (audist) assumptions that undergird Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719). I argue that Crusoe’s fraught experience of sound on the island serves as punishment for sins he committed in his youth (indicating the novel’s audism) and that his use of gesture allows him both to manage his auditory uncertainty and to consolidate power over Friday. Through my analysis of John Bulwer’s universal theory of gesture, I situate that cultural history alongside the emergence of deaf education in the eighteenth century. Reading gesture as critical to the colonial philosophy of Robinson Crusoe provides insight into travel narratives by Christopher Columbus and William Dampier, who convey that sign was used in the absence of interpreters in con tact zones. Such representations of gesture make legible colonial designs and Indigenous resistance. Gesture destabilizes Crusoe’s authority even while it enables him to establish his rule. My reading of Robinson Crusoe argues that colonialism and audism work together to justify Western European expansion.”

—. “Crip Gothic: Affiliations of Disability and Queerness in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764).” The Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability. Edited by Alice Hall, pp. 109 – 119, 2020.

—. “Disability as Metaphor and Lived Experience in Samuel Richardson’s Pamela and Sarah Scott’s Millenium Hall.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, vol. 50, 2021, pp. 309-312. DOI:10.1353/sec.2021.0024.

—. “Feeling for Deaf Resonance in the Eighteenth Century and Beyond.” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, vol. 17 no. 1, 2023, p. 1-21. DOI:10.3828/jlcds.2023.1.

  • Abstract: “The article examines how resonance has anchored deaf self-representation in the eighteenth century and the present. Through an interdisciplinary framework that foregrounds Deaf and sound studies in the context of the eighteenth century, the article conducts a close reading of writing from two of the first published deaf authors, Pierre Desloges and Charles Shirreff. The argument is that synchronous vibration figures centrally into their sentimental self-fashioning at a time when organized deaf education was first being implemented in Europe. The article also reveals personal stakes in examining resonance alongside John Bulwer’s seventeenth-century multisensory model of perception in Philocophus: or the Deafe and Dumbe Man’s Friend (1648). Along the way, the article introduces the term deaf resonance to theorize the transhistorical, transformative possibilities that inhere in deaf sociability, and to affirm the multimodal character of sound and communication in deaf self-representation.”

—. Novel Bodies: Disability and Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century British Literature. Bucknell U P, 2019.

  • From abstract: “Novel Bodies examines the significant role that disability plays in shaping the British literary history of sexuality. Jason S. Farr shows that various eighteenth-century novelists represent disability and sexuality in flexible ways to reconfigure the political and social landscapes of eighteenth-century Britain. In imagining the lived experience of disability as analogous to-and as informed by-queer genders and sexualities, the authors featured in Novel Bodies expose emerging ideas of able-bodiedness and heterosexuality as interconnected systems that sustain dominant models of courtship, reproduction, and degeneracy. Further, they use intersections of disability and queerness to stage an array of contemporaneous debates covering topics as wide-ranging as education, feminism, domesticity, medicine, and plantation life. …Farr demonstrates that disabled and queer characters inhabit strict social orders in unconventional ways, opening up new avenues of expression for generations of readers. In doing so, Farr concludes, these works make clear that variable bodies and desires are key for understanding the literary imagination of eighteenth-century Britain.”

—. “Libertine Sexuality and Queer-Crip Embodiment in Eighteenth-Century Britain.” New Queer Readings, Special Issue of Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 16, no. 4 (2016), doi:10.1353/jem.2016.0033.

  • Abstract: “This essay explores the vital role that disability plays in the history of sexuality and posits a pre-history of queer-crip theory. It argues that Restoration and early eighteenth-century poems and letters from William Wycherley, from the Earl of Rochester, and from Colley Cibber depict people with physical disabilities as incapable of heterosexual sex. In these representations, libertine sexuality serves as the apotheosis of manhood. Ableist constructions of deformity, as these sources also suggest, shore up gender and sexual codes. In Deformity: An Essay (1753), William Hay, a self-proclaimed “deformed” writer, responds in a curious way to the mockery typical of his day by likening himself to various kinds of animals, including the lapdog. In so doing, he articulates a version of male sexuality that reconfigures the dominant libertine model of Restoration and early eighteenth-century England. Hay proposes a radical alternative to standard heterosexual practice of that time, in which robust male subject penetrates immobile female object, to a more expansive eroticism in which women play an active role. Hay’s peripheral post-postscript offers a glimpse into what this essay calls “hetero-deformity,” a significant re-imagining of the way that heterosexuality so often relies upon able-bodiedness for its coherence.”

—. “Sharp Minds / Twisted Bodies: Intellect, Disability, and Female Education in Frances Burney’s “Camilla”.” The Eighteenth Century, vol. 55, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1-17, doi:10.1353/ecy.2014.0010.

  • From abstract: “Farr analyzes … Camilla for what it reveals about disability, women, and education at the turn of the nineteenth century. Camilla raises the kinds of fears that Lady Mary Wortley Montagu expresses in her letter to her daughter, directing critical attention to prescriptive gender roles regarding a woman’s intellect and appearance. Camilla elucidates Helen Deutsch’s argument about the eighteenth-century mind/ body connection through its representation of Eugenia’s training in the classics, which is enabled by her physical impairments. And while Camilla speaks to Lennard Davis’s argument that disabilities may enhance eighteenth-century women’s virtue and spirituality, it also posits that physical impairment may be a means to intellectual and feminist ends. He argues that Camilla‘s persistent efforts to privilege Eugenia’s brilliant mind over her crippled body are for naught, due to the novel’s conflicted ending.”

Fawcett, Julia H. “The Overexpressive Celebrity and the Deformed King: Recasting the Spectacle as Subject in Colley Cibber’s “Richard III”.” PMLA : Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, vol. 126, no. 4, 2011, pp. 950-965, doi:10.1632/pmla.2011.126.4.950.

  • Abstract: “In this essay, I examine Colley Cibber’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard III (1699) to explore the intersections between celebrity and surveillance in eighteenth-century England. Drawing on vocabularies from performance studies, disability studies, theater history, and literary studies, I theorize a strategy of self-representation that England’s first modern celebrities developed to maintain their fame while protecting their privacy from the spectators’ anatomizing gaze. Cibber used his performance of Richard’s disabled body to disrupt his spectators’ attempts to characterize or categorize his identity. By displaying a body that demanded attention at the same time that it defied Enlightenment grammars of behavior—and by publishing literary self-representations littered with misspelled words and blotted pages—Cibber became an early practitioner of ‘overexpression,’ a strategy that allowed him to make himself visible without becoming vulnerable to his public’s attempts to interpret, dissect, and disseminate the secrets of his private life.”

Fernandes, Sara. “‘Grow Backwarder and Backwarder’: Fissured Surfaces and Crooked Bodies in Frances Burney’s Camilla.” Textual Practice, vol. 34, no. 12, 2020, pp. 1933-1953, doi:10.1080/0950236X.2020.1834708.

  • From abstract: “Frances Burney’s novels may be taken as the models par excellence for the feminine bildungsroman. … However, in Burney’s third novel, Camilla, it is the heroine’s youngest sister, Eugenia, who serves as the novel’s more complete and compelling portrait of female maturity and, more significantly, of character formation. In the novel’s opening chapters Eugenia is scarred and disfigured; ‘defects’ which bankrupt her of the qualities needed for a heroine, especially if she is to triumph in the final chapter by completing her journey into adulthood at the altar. This essay proposes that by harnessing the lenses of skin theory and disability studies we might clarify the intersection between disfigurement and gender during the long eighteenth century and, moreover, examine the way that scarring was used to encode female character in the late eighteenth-century bildungsroman.”

Field, Jonathan B. “The Governor’s Two Bodies: Polity and Monstrosity in Winthrop’s Boston.” Early American Literature, vol. 52, no. 1, 2017, pp. 29-52, doi:10.1353/eal.2017.0001.

Foster, Thomas A. “Deficient Husbands: Manhood, Sexual Incapacity, and Male Marital Sexuality in Seventeenth-Century New England.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 56, no. 4, 1999, pp. 723-744. DOI:10.2307/2674233.

  • Abstract: “The emphasis on the “reproductive imperative” is exaggerated and mischaracterizes 17th-century sexuality. Puritans, and others, put a coordinate premium on sexual pleasure in marriage.”

—. “Recovering Washington’s Body-Double: Disability and Manliness in the Life and Legacy of a Founding Father.” Disability Studies Quarterly, vol. 32, no. 1, 2012, doi:10.18061/dsq.v32i1.3028.

  • From abstract: “This essay closely examines … Gouverneur Morris’s personal diaries that he kept while in Paris from 1789 to 1793. … Historical memory of Morris depicts his mobility impairment as a personal challenge that he overcame. …he lived in a world that had moved past viewing disability as a physical marker of Godlessness but that had not yet embraced the modern medicalized conceptualization of abnormality and accompanying institutional discrimination. Morris’s diaries offer a rare glimpse at the experiences and identity of an eighteenth-century American with a disability.”

Gabbard, Dwight Christopher. “‘A Defect in the Mind’: Cognitive Ableism in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.” Intellectual Disability: A Conceptual Disability, 1200-1900, edited by Patrick McDonagh, C. F. Goodey, and Tim Stainton, pp. 104-27. Manchester U P, 2018.

—. “Deformity, Life Writing, and the Overcoming Narrative.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, vol. 50, 2021, pp. 301-307. DOI:10.1353/sec.2021.0023.

—. “Disability Studies and the British Long Eighteenth Century: Disability Studies – 18th Century.” Literature Compass, vol. 8, no. 2, 2011, pp. 80-94, doi:10.1111/j.1741-4113.2010.00771.x.

—. “From Idiot Beast to Idiot Sublime: Mental Disability in John Cleland’s “Fanny Hill”.” PMLA : Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, vol. 123, no. 2, 2008, pp. 375-389, doi:10.1632/pmla.2008.123.2.375.

  • From abstract: “This essay investigates an erotic encounter between the libertine Louisa and Good-natured Dick, foregrounding the way Dick’s representation challenges early modern notions of idiocy as a fixed condition and Enlightenment assumptions (articulated in John Locke’s Essay) that rationality and linguistic capability underwrite human superiority. Employing disability studies as a frame, it explores how cognitive impairment can serve as a device for elucidating the text’s thematic preoccupation with valorizing signs and sensation over language and reason. …’narrative prosthesis’ comes into play as the piece interrogates the passage’s sublime rhetoric and allusion to the theriophilic paradox. …the episode is a locus classicus of anti-Lockean epistemology, one pointing forward to the abbé de Condillac and Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard (originator of special education).”

—. “Robinson Crusoe and Peter the Wild Boy: What Daniel Defoe Inadvertently Tells Us about Disability.” Defining the Boundaries of Disability: Critical Perspectives, edited by Licia Carlson and Matthew C. Murray, pp. 90 – 100, 2021.

—. “Teaching & Learning Guide for: Disability Studies and the British Long Eighteenth-Century.” Literature Compass, vol. 8, no. 5, 2011, pp. 313-314, doi:10.1111/j.1741-4113.2011.00802.x.

—. “‘What He Found Not Monsters, He Made So’: The I-word and The Bathos of Exclusion.” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, vol. 2, no. 1, 2008, pp. 11-21, doi:10.3828/jlcds.2.1.3.

Goergen, Corey. “Dr. Johnson’s Palliative Care: The Spiritual Economics of Dissipation in the Life of Savage.” Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 52, no. 4, 2019, pp. 379-394, doi:10.1353/ecs.2019.0025.

  • Abstract: “This article argues that Samuel Johnson’s The Life of Savage both responds to and challenges eighteenth-century anxieties about dissipation as a spiritual, bodily, and economic problem. Read in the context of Richard Bentley’s sermons, The Folly of Atheism, Johnson’s Life demonstrates the importance of dissipation to histories of both addiction and disability. Johnson and Bentley’s shared insistence that dissipation’s most telling symptoms are economic traces a common logic between the early, moral models of addiction and disability and later, medical models that are often understood to be distinct and even contradictory. But Johnson, in narrating Savage’s repeated failures to escape his cycle of dissipation through spiritual or intellectual means, ultimately raises questions about the capacity for moral or medical interventions to effect a satisfactory cure.”

—. “‘Psychological Curiosit[Ies]’ from an ‘Intellectual Giant’: Coleridge, Disease, Disability, and Drugs.” Disabling Romanticism, edited by Michael Bradshaw, pp. 71-86. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, doi:10.1057/978-1-137-46064-6_4.

  • Abstract: “This chapter explores the causal connection between both the failings of Coleridge’s physical body and his body of work, viewed through the lens of Helen Deutsch’s concept of ‘symptomatic correspondences’, and models of medical rehabilitation described by disability theorists. This analysis demonstrates in Coleridge’s work a refusal to enter the safe, observational discourse of disease: his speakers embrace their own marginalised states, their illnesses, and/or an abundance of feminine sensibility. Goergen’s chapter demonstrates in these writings a willing subjection of both Coleridge himself as author and his poetic speakers to a medical and pathologising gaze. In doing so, Coleridge upsets the ‘natural’ distinctions in gender, race, and bodily ability, as the body of the male author—often explicitly his own body—becomes, at once, a site of unchecked sensibility and of poetic genius that identifies itself as feminine and hysterical, but nonetheless asserts authority over its rational, masculine audience.”

Grave, Floyd. “Narratives of Affliction and Recovery in Haydn,” The Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies, edited by Blake Howe, Stephanie Jensen-Moulton, Neil Lerner, and Joseph Straus. Oxford U P, 2015, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199331444.013.28.

  • Abstract: “Haydn’s instrumental music is often marked by peculiarities—events that feature harmonic deflections, gasping pauses, metrically dissonant accents, and the like—for which the customary methods of structural and stylistic analysis can promise only limited explanation. The evolving language of Disability Studies in music offers a vantage point for contemplating such idiosyncrasies, most notably those that suggest musical equivalents of impairment and recovery. A disability-related perspective may serve as a guide in the search for appropriate metaphors: words and images that can help breathe life into our interaction with a given work as listeners and performers. As witnessed in certain passages from Haydn’s string quartets and a symphony, a reading that shows the music to embody disabling conditions and their remediation helps us connect with emotions and experiences that may resonate with the lives of the composer and his contemporaries as well as with our own.”

Herrero-Puertas, Manuel. “The Fall of the Accessible House of Usher: Poe, Berkoff, Neurodiversity.” Poe Studies, vol. 55, 2022, pp. 3-31.

  • From abstract: “The stake of this article is that accessible arrangements in Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ (1839) pervade the titular mansion’s architecture and ambience as well as Roderick Usher’s autistic-friendly art. Noticing these accommodations requires us to part with Poe’s narrator, who, as a guest, remains either indifferent to or irked by them. Steven Berkoff enacts this perspectival shift in his play The Fall of the House of Usher (1974), inviting audiences to side with Roderick and/as the house. … Berkoff’s pantomimic adaptation distills, then, from Poe’s ‘Usher,’ a prescient—at times anxious—conceptualization of access: the capacity to move across space and coexist in space with different others. Today, as neurodiverse artists and activists recreate Poe’s and Berkoff’s accessibility experiments, disability studies converges with Poe’s untapped philosophy of access, refiguring, in turn, Poe’s spatial imagination in ‘Usher’ and beyond.”

—. “Gothic Access.” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, vol. 14, no. 3, 2020, pp. 333-351. DOI:10.3828/jlcds.2020.21.

  • From abstract: “The article charts gothic fiction’s spatialization of disability by examining two representative entries: Horace Walpole’s foundational novel The Castle of Otranto (1764) and Peter Medak’s film The Changeling (1980). …both texts feature haunted houses where ghosts and nonghosts collaborate in tearing walls, clearing passageways, tracking voices, and lighting up cellars. These accommodations, along with the antiestablishment critiques they advance, remain unanalyzed because gothic studies and disability studies have intersected mainly around paradigms of monstrosity, abjection, and repression. What do we gain, then, by de-psychologizing the gothic, assaying ghosts’ material entanglements instead? This critical gesture reveals crip ghosts Joseph (Changeling) and Alfonso (Otranto) engaged in what the article conceptualizes as ‘gothic access’: a series of hauntings that help us collapse and reimagine everyday life’s unhaunted-yet inaccessible-built environments.”

—. “‘Pioneers for the Mind’: Embodiment, Disability and the De-Hallucination of American Empire.” Atlantis, vol. 34, no. 1, 2012, pp. 27-46.

Holmes, Martha S. “Born this Way: Reading Frankenstein with Disability.” Literature and Medicine, vol. 36, no. 2, 2018, pp. 372-387, DOI:10.1353/lm.2018.0019.

  • Abstract: “Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein is essential reading in the literature of disability. Rejected and abandoned by a creator who manufactured him to be beautiful, the Creature’s plotline suggests a parent’s abandonment of a child with unexpected disabilities and later denial of the disabled adult’s sexual and reproductive agency. The Creature’s first-person narrative of rejection, exclusion, and stigma suggests an experience of learning to inhabit a strictly limited, socially constructed disability identity. Often read as a story about the bioethics of medical and scientific research, Frankenstein has even greater value as a text about the social construction of disability.”

Hunt-Kennedy, Stefanie. Between Fitness and Death: Disability and Slavery in the Caribbean. U of Illinois P, 2020, doi:10.5406/j.ctvz0hcpp.

  • From abstract: “Stefanie Hunt-Kennedy provides a three-pronged analysis of disability in the context of Atlantic slavery. First, she examines the connections of enslavement and representations of disability and the parallel development of English anti-black racism. From there, she moves from realms of representation to reality in order to illuminate the physical, emotional, and psychological impairments inflicted by slavery and endured by the enslaved. Finally, she looks at slave law as a system of enforced disablement.”

—. “‘Had his nose cropt for being formerly runaway’: disability and the bodies of fugitive slaves in the British Caribbean,” Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies, 41:2, 2019, pp. 212-233, DOI: 10.1080/0144039X.2019.1644886

  • Abstract: “This paper looks at the ways in which the bodies of enslaved people were portrayed in Barbadian and Jamaican runaway advertisements from 1718 to 1815 to demonstrate that disability was key to slavery’s violence. Runaway advertisements indicate that enslaved people were debilitated in a variety of ways: discursively through law and legally sanctioned punishment, work regimes, and the material conditions of slavery. But they did more than merely reflect the presence of disability among the enslaved: they comprised a system of oppression that actually produced disability.”

—. “‘Let them be Young and Stoutly Set in Limbs’: Race, Labor, and Disability in the British Atlantic World.” Social Identities, vol. 21, no. 1, 2015, pp. 37-52 doi:10.1080/13504630.2014.995349.

  • Abstract: “This paper explores the historical intersections between slavery, disability, labor, and ‘modernity’ in the early modern British Atlantic World, paying particular attention to Barbados and Jamaica. It considers the historical linkages and divergences between the wage-earning, free, metropolitan worker of industrial Britain and the non-wage earning, enslaved plantation laborer of the British sugar colonies. It argues that colonialism, race and, specifically, slavery are key to understanding the intersections between the commodification of the laboring body and disability. The physical health and ability of bondspeople had the greatest influence on slave market prices and yet, the institution of slavery itself routinely produced disabled slave-laboring bodies. In newspaper advertisements, slaveowners relied on descriptions of impairments, disfigurements, deformities, and missing limbs to aid in the apprehension of runaway bondspeople. The display of maimed unfree bodies served to perpetuate the longstanding English notion that Africans suffered from a supposed inner depravity made manifest on their bodies. This article seeks to demonstrate that Caribbean enslaved laborers form an integral part of disability history.”

—. “The Middle Passage, the Market, and the Plantation: Slavery-Induced Disability in the Eighteenth-Century Caribbean.” Global Histories of Disability, 1700-2015. Edited by Esme Cleall. Routledge, 2023. pp. 23 – 39. DOI:10.4324/9780429323980-3.

  • From abstract: “This chapter begins with a discussion of the Middle Passage as one of the first stages of slavery-induced disability. Although slaveowners and traders desired a bondsperson who was physically and psychologically healthy, slavery worked to systematically weaken and debilitate the enslaved from the very moment of their seizure in sub-Saharan Africa. By the time the slave ship reached the coasts of the Caribbean, the captive Africans’ bodies bore the marks of slavery’s violence. Those who survived the Middle Passage were placed on the open market, their worth calculated based on their physical ability to perform hard labour. Once on the plantation, the enslaved endured hostile living conditions – legally sanctioned punishments and the chance violence of masters, overseers, and drivers, and brutal forms of labour – all of which could result in disability. By exploring these three sites of slavery-induced disability: the Middle Passage, the market, and the plantation, this chapter demonstrates that the disability produced by Atlantic slavery is key to understanding these connections.”

James-Cavan, Kathleen. “’[A]ll in Me is Nature’: The Values of Deformity in William Hay’s Deformity: An Essay.” Prose Studies, vol. 27, no. 1-2, 2005, pp. 27-38, doi:10.1080/01440350500068767.

  • From abstract: “Hay criticizes the cultural and social constructions of disability in enlightenment Britain in his 1754 Deformity: An Essay. Written in the style of Montaigne’s Essais and responding to Bacon’s ‘Of Deformity,’ the essay’s radical reimagining of the categories of crooked and straight bears a close affinity with current debates about disability and identity politics. By aligning deformity with such Enlightenment values as improvement and sensibility, Hay’s essay collapses distinctions of able-bodied and disabled that inevitably stigmatize the second term.”

Janssen, Diederik F. “On the Different Species of Phobia’ and ‘On the Different Species of Mania’ (1786): From Popular Furies to Mental Disorders in America.” Medical Humanities, vol. 47, no. 3, 2021, pp. 365-374, DOI:10.1136/medhum-2020-011859.

Jarrett, Simon. “‘Belief’, ‘Opinion’, and ‘Knowledge’: The Idiot in Law in the Long Eighteenth Century.” Intellectual Disability: A Conceptual Disability, 1200-1900, edited by Patrick McDonagh, C. F. Goodey, and Tim Stainton, pp. 162-89. Manchester U P, 2018. DOI:10.7765/9781526125323.00016.

—. “‘Idiots’ in Eighteenth-Century London Families and Communities: Evidence from Old Bailey Trials.” Family & Community History, vol. 25, no. 2, 2022, pp. 140-163, doi:10.1080/14631180.2022.2135829.

  • From abstract: “This article examines fifty trials held at the Old Bailey Criminal Court in London between 1690 and 1830 which featured individuals (mostly defendants) characterised as ‘idiots’ or similar, broadly correlating with people characterised as people with learning disabilities today. Evidence from the trials … suggest [sic] that many lived integrated lives in their families and communities rather than being marginalised or abused. Many worked, and were supported by social networks of family, neighbours and work mates, including employers. There is barely any evidence of institutionalisation. The early years of the nineteenth century saw a hardening of attitudes in court verdicts and testimony, and reduction in the tolerance and acceptance shown in earlier trials, presaging the institutionalisation of the idiot population which occurred later in the nineteenth century.”

Jones, Christine K. “Deformity Transformed: Byron and His Biographers on the Subject of His Lameness.” European Romantic Review, vol. 12, no. 3, 2001, pp. 249-266. DOI:10.1080/10509580108570141.

—. “‘An Uneasy Mind in an Uneasy Body’: Byron, Disability, Authorship, and Biography.” Disabling Romanticism, edited by Michael Bradshaw, pp. 147-167. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, doi:10.1057/978-1-137-46064-6_8.

  • From abstract: “This chapter argues that Byron’s celebrity included the deformity of his right foot, which simultaneously enhanced the charismatic fascination of damaged grandeur and made his athletic prowess more striking. This chapter reconsiders the text of Byron’s body in relation to its various intertexts and commentators—most notably, of course, Byron himself—and reveals a complex and often contradictory set of writings about the symbolic value and lived experience of physical and mental disability in Byron’s writings, and the Byronic presence in literature and biography. …it deploys recent developments in disability studies to understand the literary sources that Byron used to fictionalise this aspect of his experience. The chapter applies new critical approaches to life-writing to show how the early Lives of Byron contributed to the creation and development of the Romantic image.”

Joshua, Essaka. “‘Blind Vacancy’: Sighted Culture and Voyeuristic Historiography in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” European Romantic Review, vol. 22, no. 1, 2011, pp. 49-69. DOI:10.1080/10509585.2011.531594.

  • From abstract: “This article places Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in the context of the historiography of Edward Gibbon and William Godwin, arguing that the novel challenges eighteenth-century historiographical methods that base truth values on visual perception. Frankenstein underscores, instead, the hierarchical superiority of words over visual evidence, and represents blindness as a condition that encourages rationality. Shelley characterizes this distrust of sight through extensive uses of the ‘gothic gaze’ – an oppressive, stigmatizing, disciplinary look that is implicated in the definition of normalcy, in social relationships, in moral and legal culpability, and in narrative authority.”

—. “Disability and Deformity: Function Impairment and Aesthetics in the Long Eighteenth Century.” The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability, edited by Clare Barker and Stuart Murray, Cambridge U P, 2017, pp. 47–61. DOI:10.1017/9781316104316.005.

—. “The Drifting Language of Architectural Accessibility in Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame De Paris.” Disability Studies Quarterly, vol. 31, no. 3, 2011. DOI:10.18061/dsq.v31i3.1677.

—. Physical Disability in British Romantic Literature. Cambridge U P, 2020, doi:10.1017/9781108872126.

—. “Picturesque Aesthetics: Theorising Deformity in the Romantic Era.” Disabling Romanticism, edited by Michael Bradshaw, pp. 29-48. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-46064-6_2.

  • Abstract: “This chapter explores late eighteenth-century debates about the place of deformity in aesthetics. Joshua observes how the attempt to rationalise the aesthetic appeal of deformity extended ‘picturesque’ criteria from landscapes and architecture to people. Uvedale Price wrote in 1794 that ‘Deformity is to ugliness what picturesque is to beauty; though distinct from it, and in many cases arising from opposite causes, it is often mistaken for it, often accompanies it, and greatly heightens its effect.’ Discussion is confined to the human body where possible, but these ideas about the qualities of beauty and deformity are often linked to the overarching question of how to identify these qualities in general and even more broadly to questions of perception and taste. Frequently overlooked, deformity is an aesthetic category that is of as much significance to the period as the beautiful, sublime, and picturesque.”

—. “Romantic Sociability, Deaf Comedy, and John Poole’s Deaf as a Post (1823).” Studies in Romanticism, vol. 62, no. 3, 2023, pp. 333-355. DOI:10.1353/srm.2023.a909932.

  • Abstract: “Critical discussions of Romantic conversational practices have focused on concepts of sentiment, freedom, and the flow or ease of exchange of spoken words, and their literary representation. It has not always been apparent, however, that ‘frictionless’ conversation requires of the participants certain physical and sensory competencies or abilities. Disabilities that affect communication reveal much about politeness, social control, accessibility, and equity. This article offers a reading of John Poole’s one act farce, Deaf as a Post (1823), as a comic play about conversational friction.”

Junkerman, Nicholas. “‘Confined unto a Low Chair’: Reading the Particulars of Disability in Cotton Mather’s Miracle Narratives.” Early American Literature, vol. 52, no. 1, 2017, pp. 53–78, doi:10.1353/eal.2017.0002.

—. “Washington Allston’s Christ Healing the Sick: Disability, History Painting, and Narrative Time.” Nineteenth-Century Contexts, vol. 42, no. 3, 2020, pp. 313-334, doi:10.1080/08905495.2020.1755189.

Kelleher, Paul. “Johnson and Disability.” The New Cambridge Companion to Samuel Johnson, edited by Greg Clingham, Cambridge U P, 2022, pp. 204–217. DOI:

  • From abstract: “This chapter considers how Samuel Johnson’s various disabilities shaped perceptions of him during his lifetime and continue to influence critical and biographical assessments of his personality, conversational prowess, and literary style. …I discuss why interpretations of Johnson’s mental and physical impairments might be better served by focusing on terms that were current in the eighteenth century, such as melancholy and peculiarity. …. I examine episodes in which these peculiarities inspired people to stare at Johnson or to imitate him. These episodes reveal the deeper significance that eighteenth-century men and women ascribed to unusual and surprising forms of embodiment. I conclude by exploring the intriguing connections critics have made between Johnson’s ‘peculiar’ body and his distinctive prose style.”

Knight, Amber. “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Disability, and the Injustice of Misrecognition.” Disability Studies Quarterly, vol. 40, no. 4, 4, Dec. 2020.

  • Abstract: “This article makes the case that the normative aspirations of recognition politics are worth pursuing as a dimension of disability politics— although the tactics need to be revised— through an interpretation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Specifically, I read Frankenstein’s Creature as a visibly disabled subject, as someone who is misrecognized and mistreated due to his body’s physical features, in order to analyze the tragedy of the novel: how the not-so-monstrous Creature can never see himself as anything other than a monster since he is never afforded the positive recognition he desires. The article concludes by considering how the tragedy could have been avoided in an attempt to envision a better path toward social justice for people with disabilities and other victims of identity-based subordination. More broadly, this article attempts to bring Mary Shelley into the political theory canon, casting her as a progressive social critic who believed that misrecognition creates monsters out of those who are negatively labelled as such.”

Kogan, Nathaniel S. “Aberrations in the Body and in the Body Politic: The Eighteenth-Century Life of Benjamin Lay, Disabled Abolitionist.” Disability Studies Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 3, 2016, doi:10.18061/dsq.v36i3.5135.

  • From abstract: “This article re-evaluates traditional interpretations and presentations of the (in)-famous eighteenth century Quaker abolitionist, Benjamin Lay, by arguing that his physical disability provided the foundation for his advocacy to eliminate slaveholding amongst his fellow Friends.”

Krentz, Christopher. “Duncan Campbell and the Discourses of Deafness.” Prose Studies, vol. 27, no. 1-2, 2005, pp. 39-52, doi:10.1080/01440350500068775.

  • Abstract: “In early-eighteenth-century London, a man named Duncan Campbell claimed to be deaf and to have magical fortune-telling powers, attracting a great deal of attention. This essay examines contemporary prose about Campbell to see what it reveals about social attitudes toward deafness and to explore the relationship between deafness and writing. To us today, Campbell’s deafness is entirely a product of discourse, worked out in language. His actual biological condition is impossible to recover, showing the frequent difficulty of discerning the essential aspects of disability in historical accounts. The writing about Campbell often reveals and combats popular assumptions about deafness, including that congenitally deaf people are evil, monstrous, incapable of reason, and cannot be educated. Whether Campbell was in fact deaf or not, he reveals a great deal about constructions of deafness in his time and helped to pave the way for the rise of widespread deaf education in Europe.”

Lafleur, Greta. “Defective in One of the Principle Parts of Virility: Impotence, Generation, and Defining Disability in Early North America.” Early American Literature, vol. 52, no. 1, 2017, pp. 79-107, doi:10.1353/eal.2017.0003.

  • Abstract: “In what follows, I explore the implications of this case-and other petitions for the dissolution of marriage, based on either male or female “impotency” (a specific condition distinct from barrenness or sterility) – as they both index and challenge descriptions of what might constitute disability during the early eighteenth century in North America.”

Law, Hedy. “A Cannon-Shaped Man with an Amphibian Voice: Castrato and Disability in Eighteenth-Century France.” The Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies, edited by Blake How et al, pp. 329-44. Oxford U P, 2016.

  • From abstract: “This essay suggests how cultural histories of the castrato … and the field of Disability Studies can enter into dialogue, arguing that the discourses of stigma and freak help to explain aspects of castrato singers in eighteenth-century France. … Employing a variety of textual evidence (including reviews, scripts, and dictionary entries), I argue that what might be called the ‘enfreaked’ castrato singers disclosed a prejudice against the marvelous in the French Enlightenment.”.

Lorenz, Matt. “Blakean Wonder and the Unfallen Tharmas: Health, Wholeness, and Holarchy in the Four Zoas.” Disabling Romanticism, edited by Michael Bradshaw, pp. 127-145. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-46064-6_7.

  • Abstract: “Lorenz re-evaluates a contested figure from Blake’s mythologies through the metaphorical lens of disability. No central figure in Blake’s Four Zoas is more misunderstood than Tharmas, who appears as shepherd and innocent victim in some passages and as sea god and cruel tyrant in others. Tharmas is a holistic figure whom the violent stimulants of modern science and philosophy have divided and disabled. By attending to the internal conflict latent in the figure of Tharmas and to the external conflict between Tharmas and Urizen, one observes, first, that the self-directed sublimity of the fallen Tharmas represents a kind of aesthetic blindness when compared to the other-directed wonder of his unfallen state; second, that the instrumental reason of the fallen Urizen represents a kind of epistemological blindness when compared to the wondering reason of the unfallen Tharmas; and third, that the ‘innocent head’ and ‘holy hand’ of the unfallen Tharmas crystallise Blake’s effort to renew the interconnected ideals of wholeness, healing, health and holiness.”

Luhning, Holly. “Disability and the Disenfranchised in Eliza Haywood’s Rash Resolve.” The Age of Johnson, vol. 20, 2010.

Lund, Roger D. “Laughing at Cripples: Ridicule, Deformity and the Argument from Design.” Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 39 no. 1, 2005, p. 91-114. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/ecs.2005.0051.

  • Abstract: “This essay points to the unforeseen consequences of the ‘argument from design’ which insisted on the symmetry and form of the material creation including human beings themselves. Because such a theory failed to account for the asymmetrical, the monstrous, and the physically deformed, observers could only conclude that such creatures were accidents, anomalies or the products of moral transgression. The general conclusion that the deformed were ‘sports of nature,’ literally God’s jokes, seemingly authorized the ridicule of the disabled like Alexander Pope or William Hay, writers who felt the sting of rejection even as they endorsed the ideology of form from which such ridicule arose.”

MacLeod, Emily. “The Duke of Gloucester’s Sword: Prosthetic Props in the Repertory of Edmund Kean.” Shakespeare, vol. 19, no. 1, 2023, pp. 54-64, DOI:10.1080/17450918.2023.2183089.

  • From abstract: “Moving from a mythical ‘overcoming’ of bodily challenges to simulating disability onstage as Richard to actual physical debility later in life, Kean continued to use his sword to ‘prop’ him up, literally and figuratively, on the stage. The sword becomes a prosthetic object, an addition to the body that shapes its movement and becomes an extension of the body itself. I argue that Kean’s sword throughout his career showed off his prodigious physical skill and then became enmeshed in his bodily decline.”

Michals, Teresa. “Other Amputee Officers in Nelson’s Navy.” Journal for Maritime Research, vol. 23, no. 1, 2021, pp. 19-49, DOI:10.1080/21533369.2021.1957388.

  • From Abstract: “Throughout the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the Royal Navy had a peculiar problem: it had too many talented and ambitious officers, all competing for a limited number of command positions. Given this surplus, we might expect that contracting a major physical impairment would automatically disqualify an officer from consideration. Instead, losing a limb in battle became a mark of honor, one that a hero and his friends could use to increase his chances of winning the privilege of additional employment at sea. After the loss of a limb, at least twenty-six such officers reached the rank of Commander or higher through continued service.”

Mounsey, Chris. “Blind Woman on the Rampage: Priscilla Pointon’s Grand Tour of the Midlands and the Question of the Legitimacy of Sources for Biography.” Voice and Context in Eighteenth-Century Verse, edited by Joanna Fowler and Allan Ingram. Palgrave Macmillan UK, London, pp. 230-247. DOI:10.1057/9781137487636_14.

—, editor. The Idea of Disability in the Eighteenth Century: Order in Variety. Rowman & Littlefield, 2014; 2015.

  • From abstract: “The Idea of Disability in the Eighteenth Century explores disabled people who lived in the eighteenth century.”

—. Sight Correction: Vision and Blindness in Eighteenth-Century Britain. U of Virginia P, 2019.

  • From abstract: “…Sight Correction provides an expansive analysis of blindness in eighteenth-century Britain, developing a new methodology for conceptualizing sight impairment. Beginning with a reconsideration of the place of sight correction as both idea and reality in eighteenth-century philosophical debates, Chris Mounsey traces the development of eye surgery by pioneers … who developed a new idea of medical specialism… He then turns to accounts by the visually impaired themselves, exploring how Thomas Gills, John Maxwell, and Priscilla Pointon deployed literature strategically as a necessary response to the inadequacies of Poor Laws to support blind people. Situating blindness philosophically, medically, and economically in the eighteenth century, Sight Correction shows how the lives of both the blind and those who sought to treat them redefined blindness in ways that continue to inform our understanding today.”

Nussbaum, Felicity. “Dumb Virgins, Blind Ladies, and Eunuchs: Fictions of Defect.” In Defects: Engendering the Modern Body, edited by Helen Deutsch and Felicity Nussbaum, 31–53. U of Michigan P, 2000.

Papper, E. M. “The Influence of Chronic Illness upon the Writings of Alexander Pope.”Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, vol. 82, no. 6, 1989, pp. 359-361. DOI:10.1177/014107688908200615.

Quaglia, Bruce. “Musical Prosthesis: Form, Expression, and Narrative Structure in Beethoven’s Sonata Movements,” The Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies, edited by Blake Howe, Stephanie Jensen-Moulton, Neil Lerner, and Joseph Straus. Oxford U P, 2015, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199331444.013.36.

  • Abstract: “This essay explores prosthesis as a hermeneutic model for the analysis of musical form and expression in Beethoven, with special attention given to codas and other parageneric spaces such as slow introductions. Codas in general, and Beethoven’s in particular, are theorized as extrinsic musical spaces that serve compensatory functions in relation to the normalized musical body of the sonata form. In a literal sense, a prosthetic compensates the disabled body by enhancing or remediating functions that deviate from the normal. Prosthesis thus becomes the means through which the relationships of inclusion and difference are mediated. By focusing on Beethoven’s slow introductions and codas and then recasting them as prosthetic spaces, the essay also revisits a famous exchange between critics Joseph Kerman and Charles Rosen on the topic of Beethoven’s codas, in order to resituate relational musical difference within more recent theories of musical form.”

Quinn, Megan. “‘His Lips with Joy they Burr’: Onomatopoeia in Wordsworth’s ‘the Idiot Boy’.” Studies in Romanticism, vol. 60, no. 1, 2021, pp. 27-56. DOI:10.1353/srm.2021.0001.

—. “Jeremy Bentham on Physical Disability: A Problem for Whom?” Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, vol. 8, no. 4, 2012.

Reeves, James B. “Untimely Old Age and Deformity in Sarah Scott’s Millenium Hall.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 27, no. 2, 2014, pp. 229-256, doi:10.3138/ecf.27.2.229.

  • From abstract: “…this article argues that the novel’s treatment of disability cannot be separated from its treatment of gender and old age. …this article situates Scott’s novel as a key text in the history of disability. …Scott radically revises her culture’s principal assumptions about female old age. …Scott suggests that old age and disability benefit her heroines by bringing them into contact with the timeless realm of the divine. The novel therefore enriches our understanding of disability in the eighteenth century and beyond, demonstrating the powerful ways in which disability, gender, and temporality intersect.”

Richman, Jared S. “Monstrous Elocution: Disability and Passing in Frankenstein.” Essays in Romanticism, vol. 25, no. 2, 2018, pp. 187-207, doi:10.3828/eir.2018.25.2.5.

—. “The Other King’s Speech: Elocution and the Politics of Disability in Georgian Britain.” The Eighteenth Century, vol. 59, no. 3, 2018, doi:10.1353/ecy.2018.0016.

  • Abstract: “This essay examines the role that vocal disability played in eighteenth-century political discourse surrounding the exercise of governmental power by looking closely at two stutterers on opposite ends of the political and social spectra – King George III and the radical orator and elocutionist John Thelwall. Using contemporary disability theory as a critical frame, the essay explores the ways in which disabled elocution emerged in late Georgian Britain to become a politically significant motif as evidenced by a range of works of written and visual satire. By their very materiality within a print medium, I argue, these works mark and render visible disabled bodies otherwise transparent as the ephemeral entity of speech becomes codified in print. Broadly speaking, then, the essay argues that speech—perfected, deformed, repressed, enabled, and disabled—served to codify British systems of political authority and social oppression even as they seemed to clear a space for political resistance. By focusing on the manner in which the era’s representations of and reactions to disabled speech instantiated a system of compulsory fluency, this essay demonstrates how disability operated as a governing trope in Georgian-era debates over government sovereignty, political access, national identity, and freedom of expression.”

Richter, Virginia. “Exterior Inspection and Regular Reason: Robert Hooke’s and Margaret Cavendish’s Epistemologies of the Senses”. The Five Senses in Medieval and Early Modern England. Brill, 2016. DOI:10.1163/9789004315495_006.

Rodas, Julia M. “Autistic Voice and Literary Architecture in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Disabling Romanticism, edited by Michael Bradshaw, pp. 169-190. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. DOI:10.1057/978-1-137-46064-6_9.

  • Abstract: “Rodas addresses rhetorical and narrative interstices of Frankenstein, exploring the ways in which the visible sutures of the novel defamiliarise intuitive language and social contact, bringing the reader into a complicit relationship with autism. Rodas observes that the creature’s hovel is simultaneously a container for the disposal of rejected creation and a sanctuary that shields the emergent self and allows it the privacy to develop: the space, and the being which inhabits it, constitute a representation of Romantic autism, an extreme of solitary self-ness, the ultimate expression of solitude. While the infamous ‘monster’ evokes the idea of the feral child that has often been associated with autism, however, Rodas proposes that Shelley’s novel provokes a more intimate relationship with autism than audiences might initially realise: the narrative strategies of the text bind the reader into a seemingly paradoxical experience of muteness and verbal precocity, and a correlative hyper-consciousness of boundaries—both rhetorical and social.”

Samuels, Ellen. “Response: How do Early Americans with Disabilities Act?” Early American Literature, vol. 52, no. 1, 2017, pp. 169-176. DOI:10.1353/eal.2017.0006.

Sanford, Susannah B. “Queer and Present Danger: Freakery and Sapphic Desire in Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda.” Eighteenth-Century Fiction, vol. 34, no. s1, 2022, pp. 547–70, DOI: 10.3138/ecf.34.s1.547 .

  • Abstract: “This essay examines the relationship between (dis)ability and sexuality in Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda (1801). Jason Farr argues that (dis)ability and sexuality are “mutually constitutive” in the eighteenth century and demonstrates the link between conceptions of (dis)ablebodiedness and non-heteronormativity. I argue that the constitutive relationship is bifurcated across two characters from Edgeworth’s novel: Harriet Freke’s sexual divergence constitutes her disability, and Lady Delacour’s experience of disability and chronic pain constitutes her sexual ambiguity and Sapphic possibilities. A queer-crip reading of Belinda demonstrates that Lady Delacour experiences intimate relationships with women and her husband through her injured breast and chronic pain. Harriet Freke’s divergent gender performance disables her under the chastising gaze of the other characters, and, in the end, she is permanently, physically marked by an injury. Lady Delacour experiences a cure of her long-term injury that results in a transformation to the ennobled, contemporary form of heterosexual domesticity.”

Shackelford, Lynne P. “‘Things Fall Apart; the Centre Cannot Hold’: Roderick Usher’s Challenges with Sensory Processing in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’.” The Edgar Allan Poe Review, vol. 21, no. 2, 2020, pp. 175-191, DOI:10.5325/edgallpoerev.21.2.0175.

  • From abstract: “This article examines Poe’s knowledge of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century medical discourse that likely piqued his interest in diseases of the senses, leading to his diagnosing the condition afflicting the Usher family as ‘unnatural sensations.’ This article argues that Roderick’s affliction is comparable to Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)… Researchers have determined that adults with SPD often experience depression, anxiety, isolation, and fear because of the brain’s inability to process and integrate sensory input appropriately. The instability and disorganization of the Usher mansion that Poe depicts, the dire consequences from loss of mental control he expresses through ‘The Haunted Palace,’ and the shocking fate of Roderick’s expiring after extreme sensory overload reveal the horror of Usher’s malady—and Poe’s ability to transmute medical information into Gothic art.”

Shannon, Mary L. “The Multiple Lives of Billy Waters: Dangerous Theatricality and Networked Illustrations in Nineteenth-Century Popular Culture.” Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film, vol. 46, no. 2, 2019, pp. 161-189. DOI:10.1177/1748372719852739.

  • Shannon examines the popular culture representations of the black, disabled late-Georgian London street performer Billy Waters and uses him as a case study revealing “the potential for developing a new model of 1820s and 1830s popular culture that shows – in more detail than the critical models currently available – how popular theatre connects with print and visual media. … This article analyses visual and textual representations of Billy Waters to suggest a new approach to ascertaining the relationship between ideological agency and popular cultural forms.” (from abstract)

Simpson, Murray K. “Idiocy and the Conceptual Economy of Madness.” Intellectual Disability: A Conceptual Disability, 1200-1900, edited by Patrick McDonagh, C. F. Goodey, and Tim Stainton, pp. 190-210. Manchester U P, 2018. DOI:10.7765/9781526125323.00017.

Sisman, Elaine. “Music and the Labyrinth of Melancholy: Traditions and Paradoxes in C. P. E. Bach and Beethoven,” The Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies, edited by Blake Howe, Stephanie Jensen-Moulton, Neil Lerner, and Joseph Straus. Oxford U P, 2015, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199331444.013.29.

Snyder, Sharon. “Unfixing Disability in Lord Byron’s ‘The Deformed Transformed.’” In Bodies in Commotion. 280-91.

Spring, Matthew. “Thomas Mace: A Hearing-Impaired Musician and Musical Thinker in the Seventeenth Century.” Aural Diversity. Edited by John L. Drever, and Andrew Hugill. Routledge, 2023. DOI:10.4324/9781003183624-19.

  • From abstract: “Thomas Mace (c. 1613-1706) lost his hearing in middle age, yet continued his musical life as a player, singer and teacher. In response to his disability he modified his instruments to help him hear, devised an acoustical performing chamber to enhance the sound potential of an enclosed space, and invented new instruments. Mace’s Musick’s Monument (1676) is the most important English source of lute music after 1640 and he was one of the most important music theorists of the period. His discussion of ‘affect’ in music is invaluable. This chapter explores the ways that hearing loss affected his thinking on music and the practical steps he took to continue his musical life.”

Stainton, Tim. “Sensationalism and the Construction of Intellectual Disability.” Intellectual Disability: A Conceptual Disability, 1200-1900, edited by Patrick McDonagh, C. F. Goodey, and Tim Stainton, pp. 128-47. Manchester U P, 2018.

Stanback, Emily B. “Disability, Sympathy, and Encounter in Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads.” Disabling Romanticism, edited by Michael Bradshaw, pp. 49-69. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

—. The Wordsworth-Coleridge Circle and the Aesthetics of Disability. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Sykes, Ingrid. “The Politics of Sound: Music and Blindness in France, 1750-1830.” The Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies, edited by Blake How et al, pp. 92-111. Oxford U P, 2016.

Tan, Wei Y. W. “Disability, Text, and Performance: The Significance of One Blind musician’s Career in Tokugawa Japan.” The Journal of Japanese Studies, vol. 45, no. 1, 2019, pp. 91-119, DOI:10.1353/jjs.2019.0004.

Thomson, Rosemarie G. “Byron and the New Disability Studies: A Response.”European Romantic Review, vol. 12, no. 3, 2001, pp. 321-327. DOI:10.1080/10509580108570145.

Toscano, Pasquale S. “‘A Parliament of Monsters’: Genre, Disability, and the Revival of Epic Ability in Wordsworth’s Prelude.” Disability Studies Quarterly, vol. 39, no. 4, 4, Dec. 2019.

Turner, David M. Disability in Eighteenth-Century England: Imagining Physical Impairment. Routledge, 2012, doi:10.4324/9780203117545.

—. “Picturing Disability in Eighteenth-Century England,” The Oxford Handbook of Disability History, edited by Michael Rembis, Catherine Kudlick, and Kim E. Nielsen. Oxford U P, 2018, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190234959.013.20.

Vanja, Christina. “Shelter and Custody. Identifying and Treating Physical and Mental Disabilities in Eighteenth-Century Hessian High Hospitals”. Tracing Hospital Boundaries: Integration and Segregation in Southeastern Europe and Beyond, 1050-1970, edited by Jane L. Stevens Crawshaw, Irena Benyovsky Latin, and Kathleen Vongsathorn, pp. 115–131. Brill, 2020.

Verwaal, Ruben E. “Fluid Deafness: Earwax and Hardness of Hearing in Early Modern Europe.” Medical History, vol. 65, no. 4, 2021, pp. 366-383, doi:10.1017/mdh.2021.29.

Wang, Fuson. “The Historicist Turn of Romantic‐Era Disability Studies, Or Frankenstein in the Dark.” Literature Compass, vol. 14, no. 7, 2017, doi:10.1111/lic3.12400.

—. “Teaching Guide for: ‘The Historicist Turn of romantic‐era Literary Disability Studies, Or, Frankenstein in the Dark’.” Literature Compass, vol. 14, no. 9, 2017, doi:10.1111/lic3.12409.

—. “Romantic Disease Discourse: Disability, Immunity, and Literature.”Nineteenth-Century Contexts, vol. 33, no. 5, 2011, pp. 467-482, DOI:10.1080/08905495.2011.623848.

Warr, Cordelia. “A Series of Fifty-Four Clever Drawings on Vellum: Monstrous Births in Italian Ms 63.” Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library, vol. 91, no. 1, 2015, pp. 57-80, DOI:10.7227/BJRL.91.1.5.

  • From abstract: “Italian ms 63… contains fifty-four images of monstrous births, both human and animal. The manuscript was probably completed in the mid-eighteenth century… This article explores the possible sources for some of the images, which range from descriptions or illustrations in well-known publications on monsters, to popular pamphlets, to drawings and paintings. An analysis of the choice of subject matter and the ways in which the source material has been used places the manuscript within eighteenth-century collecting practices and emphasises the multivalency of the monstrous.”

Wickham, Parnel. “Conceptions of Idiocy in Colonial Massachusetts.” Journal of Social History, vol. 35, no. 4, 2001, pp. 935–54, doi:10.1353/jsh.2002.0067.

—. “Idiocy in Virginia, 1616-1860.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, vol. 80, no. 4, 2006, pp. 677–701, doi:10.1353/bhm.2006.0148.

Wilson, Philip K. “Eighteenth-Century ‘Monsters’ and Nineteenth-Century ‘Freaks’: Reading the Maternally Marked Child.” Literature and Medicine, vol. 21, no. 1, 2002, pp. 1-25, doi: 10.1353/lm.2002.0014.

Wiehe, Jarred. “No Penis? No Problem: Intersections of Queerness and Disability in Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.” The Eighteenth Century, vol. 58, no. 2, 2017, doi:10.1353/ecy.2017.0015.

Wolfson, Susan J. “Frankenstein’s Origin-Stories.” The Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 53, no. 4, 2020, pp. 663-690. doi:10.1353/HLQ.2020.0032.

Zani, Steven. “Clubfoot, Caul and Controversy: Byron Biography and the Foundation of Genius.” The Byron Journal, (2004), 32, (1), pp. 31–38. doi:10.3828/bj.32.1.4.