Stay tuned for annotations and additional entries.

Ali, Akbar, and Geraldene Codina. 2024. “Representations of Disability in Qur’anic Narratives.” Journal of Disability & Religion, June, 1–19. doi:10.1080/23312521.2024.2353603.

  • From abstract: “Whilst there are texts which examine the representations of disabled people in a range of legal, social, religious, and cultural Muslim documents, there is a paucity of literature which analyzes the representations of disabled people in the Qur’an. Applying critical discourse analysis, this study interprets two well-known Qur’anic stories. Through the application of thematic analysis, the phrases, clauses and sentences of these two stories are analyzed in order to present patterns of meaning which challenge ableism from a scriptural Islamic perspective.”

Bailey, Anne E. “The Female Condition: Gender and Deformity in High‐Medieval Miracle Narratives.” Gender & History, vol. 33, no. 2, 2021, pp. 427-447. doi:10.1111/1468-0424.12519.

  • Abstract: “This article explores the intersection of medicine, religion and gender within the context of miracle narratives compiled in England and France in the High Middle Ages. Women in miracle accounts have much to tell us about medieval ideas of gendered sickness and health, yet this is an area which has received little scholarly attention. Focusing on stories of female deformity and disfigurement, it is argued that sickness has a feminising effect on women’s bodies in these sources, but proposed that symptoms of excess femininity were not always seen as the spiritual hindrance that might be expected.”

—. “Miracle Children: Medieval Hagiography and Childhood Imperfection.” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol. 47, no. 3, 2016;2017;, pp. 267-285. doi:10.1162/JINH_a_01012.

  • From abstract: “An analysis of the medical and religious meanings attached to bodily defects in the Middle Ages discovers that hagiographers harnessed the emotions evoked by childhood illness to create a distinctly Christian concept of childhood imperfection.”

Baskin, Judith R. “‘She Extinguished the Light of the World’: Justifications for Women’s Disabilities in Abot de-Rabbi Nathan B”. Current Trends in the Study of Midrash, edited by Carol Bakhos. Brill, 2006.

Belser, Julia Watts and Lennart Lehmhaus. “Disability in Rabbinic Judaism.” Disability in Antiquity, edited by Christian Laes, Routledge, 2016, pp. 450 – 468.

  • Abstract: “This chapter examines disability in the sources and traditions of rabbinic Judaism, a period that begins after the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 ce and extends to encompass the redaction of the Babylonian Talmud in the 6th or 7th century. During the rabbinic period, a small cadre of scholars and sages developed the foundational and formative sources of rabbinic Judaism, developing texts and traditions that remain central to most contemporary forms of Jewish practice. In its textual approach, rabbinic literature reveals both conservative and innovative impulses. Rabbinic texts are often framed as exegesis and interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, and rabbinic literature operates in large part through the citation and interpretation of the oral traditions of earlier generations. Though rabbinic texts constantly situate themselves in relation to earlier sources of authority, rabbinic interpretation is often profoundly innovative – articulating novel approaches to law and ritual that adapt tradition to new circumstances, as well as expressing through narrative and story a range of complex and often contradictory approaches to religious thought and ethics.”

Benkheira, Hocine. “Impotent Husbands, Eunuchs and Flawed Women in Early Islamic Law.” Disability in Antiquity, edited by Christian Laes, Routledge, 2016, pp. 437 – 449. DOI:10.4324/9781315625287-39.

Bohling, Solange, Karina Croucher, and Jo Buckberry. “Understanding Disability and Physical Impairment in Early Medieval England: An Integration of Osteoarchaeological and Funerary Evidence.” Medieval Archaeology, vol. 67, no. 1, 2023, pp. 73-114. DOI:10.1080/00766097.2023.2204666.

  • From abstract: “This paper investigates physical impairment and disability in the c 5th to 6th centuries ad in England through a combination of osteological and funerary analyses. … The burial treatment of individuals with and without physical impairment was compared both quantitatively and qualitatively, and patterns within and between cemeteries were explored to investigate contemporary perceptions and understandings of impairment and disability. The results suggest that some people with physical impairment and potential disability were buried with treatment that was arguably positive, while others were buried with treatment that was either normative or potentially negative. This suggests that, in the same way as the rest of the community, individuals with physical impairment and potential disability had a variety of identities (that may or may not have been influenced by their impairment or disability) and could occupy different social spaces/statuses.”

Bragg, Lois. “From the Mute God to the Lesser God: Disability in Medieval Celtic and Old Norse Literature.” Disability & Society, vol. 12, no. 2, 1997, pp. 165-178, doi:10.1080/09687599727317.

  • Abstract: “The archaic literature shows mythological motifs about contact with the supernatural and the related notion of a trade-off of a body part for superhuman abilities, and also a general disinterest in impairments as they might affect a character’s competence. There appears to be some concern for dangers an individual’s impairment might pose to society and some desire for cures, but there is no evidence for the notion of demonic possession, little recognition that impairments might be medical conditions or personal tragedies, and no hint of marginalizing pity or consequent charity.”

Bruce Wallace, K. (2019). “Grendel and Goliath: Monstrous Superability and Disability in the Old English Corpus.” In: Godden, R., Mittman, A. (eds) Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World. The New Middle Ages. Palgrave Macmillan. DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-25458-2_5.

  • From abstract: “…the Beowulf poet’s association of Grendel with unhælu demands careful investigation, especially since he is not the only monster who bears this association. Ælfric’s Homily for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary explicitly characterizes Goliath’s gigantic stature as unhal. Reading unhal more literally as impaired/diseased affects our understanding of monstrosity and impairment in the Anglo-Saxon period. While the chapter establishes a spectrum of corporeal normalcy/deviancy in which impaired/diseased bodies fall short of the norm and monstrous bodies exceed it, within narratives, these non-normative bodies’ positions on this spectrum are not fixed, and their movement along it suggests their different relationships to normalcy.”

—. “Intersections of Gender and Disability for Women in Early Medieval England: A Preliminary Investigation.” English Studies, vol. 101, no. 1, 2020, pp. 41-59. DOI:10.1080/0013838X.2020.1708110.

  • Abstract: “This article considers how disability affects women in early medieval England through an examination of the word, ‘unhælu,’ a term that means unhealthy, but could refer to many different maladies that could constitute a disability. Women were particularly susceptible to unhælu due to the effects of poor nutrition and infection during childbirth and menstruation, and women’s unhælu could be treated through their reproductive organs, even for unrelated ailments. For instance, a lack of speech could be remedied with a pessary and an emmenagogue. Social status played a large role in how being unhælu affected a woman’s life, as a rich woman could pay for care and transportation, rather than relying on family. In religious contexts, being unhælu could have advantages, particularly if it made it possible to transcend corporality and to preserve virginity.”

Buhrer, Eliza. “‘But what is to be Said of a Fool?’ Intellectual Disability in Medieval Thought and Culture.” Mental Health, Spirituality, and Religion in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Age. Edited by Albrecht Classen, pp. 314 – 343. vol. 15, De Gruyter, 2014. DOI:10.1515/9783110361643.314.

—. “Disability and Consent in Medieval Law.” Postmedieval a Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies, vol. 10, no. 3, 2019, pp. 344-356, doi:10.1057/s41280-019-00136-w.

  • From abstract: “This essay highlights the ways that legal fictions about the extent to which disability limits agency have historically been used to prevent women from exercising many of the rights of legal adulthood, particularly those related to marriage and property. In the late thirteenth century, English law began to limit the activities of people with cognitive and sensory disabilities, on the grounds that they lacked the understanding necessary to consent. … using the records of late medieval lawsuits, I show that as women inherited land at unprecedented rates during the fourteenth century, men fraudulently alleged that women were disabled in order to gain control of their property.”

—. (2019). “’If in Other Respects He Appears to Be Effectively Human’: Defining Monstrosity in Medieval English Law.” In: Godden, R., Mittman, A. (eds) Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World. Palgrave Macmillan. DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-25458-2_3.

—. “Learning Difficulties: Ideas about Intellectual Diversity in Medieval Thought and Culture.” A Cultural History of Disability in the Middle Ages, edited by Jonathan Hsy, Tory V. Pearman, and Joshua R. Eyler. Bloomsbury, pp. 115 – 132, 2020. DOI:10.5040/9781350028746.ch-007.

Busse, Beatrix, and Annette Kern-Stähler. “Bleary Eyes: Middle English Constructions of Visual Disabilities”. The Five Senses in Medieval and Early Modern England. Brill, 2016. DOI:10.1163/9789004315495_005.

Calabrese, Michael. “Disabling Pride in the Pricke of Conscience.” The Chaucer Review, vol. 53, no. 4, 2018, pp. 377-401. DOI:10.5325/chaucerrev.53.4.0377.

  • Abstract: “This article reads the Middle English Pricke of Conscience in relation to disability studies, a robust field that studies the body and its impairments, the stigmatization of the impaired, the history of normality and ableism, and the social and medical treatment of infirmity. For Pricke, in particular, disability studies provides a critical way of understanding the construction of impairment and of ‘normalcy’ and helps us to read the poem’s rhetorics of fear and persuasion. Pricke works by deconstructing the pride that sinners inherently take in their ‘abilities,’ as it were, to use the body for pleasure and sin. Pricke inverts one’s intuitive sense of ‘ability’ by proving how the abled, those who glory in natural beauty and freedom of movement, will, in the ignorance of pride, employ that freedom only to impair themselves morally by immersing themselves in disabling sin, which deforms both body and soul.”

Calkin, Siobhain Bly. “Passion Relic Devotion, an Implanted Relic, and a Prostheticized Body: Rethinking Matter and Agency in ‘A Grete Myracle of a Knyghte Good Callyd Syr Roger Wallysborow'”. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 May 2024; 54 (2): 299–332.

  • Abstract: “This article analyzes an English miracle narrative in which a portion of the Holy Cross is implanted within a knight’s body in the Holy Land and is translated to Cornwall. The text raises important questions about what implantation means for the relic and human matters so conjoined and their respective agencies. Drawing on ideas about prostheticized bodies developed in disability studies can help scholars better understand the ontological questions raised by the melding of human and nonhuman matters, the profound vulnerability this entails for the devout human subject, and the ways in which this fusion of relic and human matter is socially transformative for the broader community. The article thus outlines some of the complex negotiations of matter and agency that could be imagined as part of the affective world of late medieval and early modern Passion relic veneration.”

Carlson, Marla. “Marginal Performances by Late Medieval Pigs and Blind Men.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies September 2021; 51 (3): 397–429. doi: https://doi-org.umiss.idm.oclc.org/10.1215/10829636-9295009.

Chace, Jessica. “Animal, Vegetable, Prosthesis: Medieval Care Networks in the Lives of Three English Saints.” Exemplaria, vol. 29, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1-20. DOI:10.1080/10412573.2017.1284367.

  • From abstract: “This essay employs a hybrid ecocritical and disability studies approach to explore the depiction of physical impairment in Matthew of Paris’ thirteenth-century illuminated lives of Alban and Edward and a twelfth-century illumination of Bede’s Life of Cuthbert. Using these three texts as case studies in a larger hagiographic tradition, it investigates moments of material contact between saints and supplicants with non-normative bodies and the natural world… In thinking about the alliances forged between humans and environmental actors as ‘medieval care networks,’ the paper argues that an interdisciplinary approach to these narratives deepens our understanding of bodily difference in the Middle Ages by envisioning medieval impaired persons as co-weavers of an intricate web of human, animal, elemental, and prosthetic relations.”

—. “‘Semy-Vif for Sorow’: Disability and Tragedy in Troilus and Criseyde and the Tale of Beryn.” The Chaucer Review, vol. 56, no. 1, 2021, pp. 54-79. DOI:10.5325/CHAUCERREV.56.1.0054.

Crocker, Christopher and Yoav Tirosh. “Health, Healing, and the Social Body in Medieval Iceland.” Understanding Disability Throughout History: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Iceland from Settlement to 1936, edited by Hanna Björg Sigurjónsdóttir and James G. Rice, pp. 113-127. Routledge, 2021. DOI:10.4324/9781003180180-7.

  • From absract: “…this chapter first elaborates on the appropriateness of adopting a disability studies approach to this subject. Following this, it discusses how the Íslendingasögur show an awareness of both practical and theoretical understandings of the body and are concerned with how this knowledge was applied, as well as who had access to this knowledge and practice. Bodies or minds in the sagas perceived to be unhealthy, and consequently also their healthy counterparts, are understood and depicted not only as physiological phenomena but also as reflections of a variety of socio-cultural factors. The importance of healing and maintaining a healthy body takes on a social aspect and plays a crucial role in the formation (and dissolution) of a variety of interpersonal relationships.”

Crocker, Christopher, Yoav Tirosh, and Ármann Jakobsson. “Disability in Medieval Iceland: Some Methodological Concerns.” Understanding Disability Throughout History: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Iceland from Settlement to 1936, edited by Hanna Björg Sigurjónsdóttir and James G. Rice, pp. 12-28. Routledge, 2021. DOI:10.4324/9781003180180-1.

  • Abstract: “This chapter reviews and builds upon recent scholarship in order to discuss some of the key methodological concerns scholars must account for when exploring disability in the context of medieval Icelandic saga writing. It begins by introducing and considering the source value of the medieval sagas, including the modern generic distinctions that scholars have applied to the corpus. Next, the chapter addresses the vital role that attending closely to language and terminology plays in conceptualising disability in the medieval sagas. The final two sections focus on how medieval sagas offer insight on social attitudes toward atypical or nonconformist bodies and minds, on the one hand, and how such phenomena operate within medieval Iceland’s narrative traditions, on the other. Overall, this chapter addresses the value of the medieval Icelandic sagas in helping us gain a better understanding of how physical, mental, and sensory differences were experienced, communicated, represented, and interpreted in medieval Iceland.”

Deanda, Elena. “Speak in Silence: The Power of Weakness in the Works of Teresa De Cartagena.” Ehumanista, vol. 29, 2015, pp. 461-475.

Dillig, Janina. “‘Some Have it from Birth, Some by Disposition’: Foolishness in Medieval German Literature.” Intellectual Disability: A Conceptual Disability, 1200-1900, edited by Patrick McDonagh, C. F. Goodey, and Tim Stainton, pp. 64-79. Manchester U P, 2018.

Dittmar, Jenna M., et al. “Caring for the Injured: Exploring the Immediate and Long-Term Consequences of Injury in Medieval Cambridge, England.” International Journal of Paleopathology, vol. 40, 2023, pp. 7-19. DOI:10.1016/j.ijpp.2022.07.004.

  • From abstract: “Three medieval individuals from Cambridge, England with ante-mortem fractures to the lower limb were analyzed. … Each of these individuals survived a severe injury resulting in chronic physical impairment, though not all would have been considered ‘disabled’. This research contributes to the discussion about medieval care provision and social constructions of disability by illustrating how an interdisciplinary approach provides insight into the experiences of those with physical impairments.”

Dubourg, Ninon. “Clerical Leprosy and the Ecclesiastical Office: Dis/Ability and Canon Law.” New Approaches to Disease, Disability and Medicine in Medieval Europe. Edited by Erin Connelly and Stefanie Künzel. Archaeopress, 2018, pp. 62 – 77. DOI:10.2307/j.ctv1nzfw4t.9.

—. Disabled Clerics in the Late Middle Ages: Un/suitable for Divine Service?. Amsterdam UP, 2023.

Ekholst, Christine. “The Value of a Thumb: Injuries and Disability in Swedish Medieval Law.” Mirator, vol. 20, no. 2, 2021, pp. 38-53.

  • Abstract: “This article analyses provisions dealing with bodily injuries in Swedish medieval law. It argues that the lawmakers defined impairment as a permanent injury, something that could only be assessed after a year had passed. The article further argues that the legislators conceptualized disability as the permanent consequences of an injury that would affect a person’s life. It suggests that the legislators considered that an impairment had become a disability when the person could no longer feed themselves, walk, attend church or go to the market. Finally, while an impairment was paid for with a specific ‘impairment fine’, and thus must have been perceived as something negative that needed compensation, there is nothing in the law texts that indicates that a person with a disability was viewed in negative light in general.”

Eyler, Joshua R., editor. Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations. Taylor and Francis, 2016, doi:10.4324/9781315577388.

Feltman, Jennifer M. “The Afflicted Body of Job and the Aesthetic of Wholeness in Gothic Sculpture.” The Routledge Companion to Art and Disability, edited by Keri Watson and Timothy W. Hiles, Routledge, 2022. DOI:10.4324/9781003009986-12.

  • From abstract: “This chapter considers the impact of the earliest thirteenth-century sculptures of the afflicted body of Job (Paris, Cathedral of Notre-Dame, c. 1210, Chartres, Cathedral of Notre-Dame, c. 1215, and Reims, Cathedral of Notre-Dame, c. 1235) on the medieval moral imagination and the implications this holds for contemporary disability studies. In each case, Job is shown as an emaciated figure who is seated on a dung heap and tormented by the Devil, yet nuances in iconography suggest site-specific meanings. The Job sculptures were created at a moment in Gothic sculpture when artists became interested in depicting realistic, individualized, yet idealized figures that literally embody the state of wholeness and express it as an aesthetic ideal. When viewed against this backdrop, it is argued that the Job sculptures present a compatible, yet seemly counter aesthetic, in which wounds and affliction are endowed with the beauty of inner virtue.”

Fossier, Arnaud. “The Body of the Priest: Eunuchs in Western Canon Law and the Medieval Catholic Church.” The Catholic Historical Review, vol. 106, no. 1, 2020, pp. 27-49. DOI:10.1353/cat.2020.0015.

  • From abstract: “…scholars of medieval Europe have not paid a great deal of attention to the clerics whose genitals were amputated. Drawing upon the example of men who had mutilated themselves and sought to become deacons, priests or bishops, this paper shows how their exclusion from the sacred sphere has been shaped in medieval canon law and what were the possible exemptions to the general rule. The pope himself and more especially the Apostolic Penitentiary played an eminent role in their integration, since they granted special authorizations and dispensations to all priests or aspiring priests who were lacking their virilia. Finally, we try to explain why this prohibition addressed to eunuchs reflects the Catholic Church’s broader conception of masculinity.”

Gaumer, Matthew Alan. “What Difference did Islam make? Disease and Disability in Early Medieval North Africa.” Disability in Antiquity, edited by Christian Laes, Routledge, 2016, pp. 419 – 436. DOI:10.4324/9781315625287-38.

Gianfalla, Jennifer M. “‘Ther is moore mysshapen amonges thise beggeres’: Discourses of Disability in Piers Plowman,” Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations, edited ByJoshua R. Eyler. Routledge 2010.

Gleeson, Brendan. “The Social Space of Disability in Feudal England.” Geographies of Disability, Routledge, 1999, pp. 81–105, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203021217-12.

  • From abstract: “This chapter explores how the impaired body was socialised – that is, lived socio-spatially in feudalism. The empirical analysis is rooted in the English medieval context.”

Godden, Richard H. “Neighboring Disability in Medieval Literature.” Exemplaria, vol. 32, no. 3, 2020, pp. 229–47, https://doi.org/10.1080/10412573.2020.1854997.

  • From abstract: “This article brings together Critical Disability Studies and the ethics of neighboring to examine not only the intimate alterity of disabled figures in medieval literature, but also how nonnormative embodiments are a recurring feature in the ethical discourse of the neighbor. Neighbor-love and disability justice share an ethical orientation that emphasizes difference, yet the ethics of the neighbor stresses an asymmetrical and non-reciprocal relationship between self and other whereas an ethics of care emphasizes interdependence. However, attending to the nonnormative embodiment of the neighbor introduces a transformed sense of reciprocity to the neighborly encounter. In order to think about the generative possibilities of the intersection between neighborliness and disability, the paper explores varied encounters with nonnormative embodiments… Each of these encounters seemingly illustrate a drive towards normalcy, a temporality of inclusion where the strangeness of the neighborly figure is neutralized through miraculous or magical means. Centering nonnormative figures in these narratives, however, reveals the working of parasynchrony, a shared temporality that resists a turn toward normativity and enables reciprocity based not on exchange but on interdependence and mutual care.”

—. “Prosthetic Ecologies: Vulnerable Bodies and the Dismodern Subject in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” Textual Practice, vol. 30, no. 7, 2016, pp. 1273-1290. DOI:10.1080/0950236X.2016.1229910.

  • Abstract: “This essay reads Sir Gawain and the Green Knight through the lens of Disability Studies. Specifically, it explores how the technologies of chivalry (a knight’s armour, his shield, and even his reputation) serve as prostheses that aid in shaping and fashioning the chivalric subject. As prostheses, Gawain’s objects simultaneously complete a body that is consistently exposed as vulnerable while also bringing attention to its incompleteness. Without these objects, however, there would be no figure named Gawain. This analysis of Gawain’s chivalric accoutrement reveals him to be a dismodern subject, that is, as inhabiting a subject position marked by interdependency, where completion means existing in a network with other bodies, social and material. This essay also looks to the new materialism in order to understand how Gawain’s objects can become things, exerting a thing-power that promises excess and uncanniness alongside completion and wholeness. By bringing together Disability Studies and the new materialism, we can move beyond binaries of whole/part, healthy/unhealthy, subject/object in order to consider how the self functions in a prosthetic ecology comprised of both the human and the nonhuman.”

Godden, Richard H., and Asa S. Mittman. “Embodied Difference: Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman.” Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World, edited by Richard H. Godden and Asa Simon MittmanSpringer, 2019, pp. 3 – 31. DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-25458-2_1.

  • From abstract: “This chapter introduces the volume and surveys the relevant literature in the fields of Disability Studies and Monster Studies, and explains their intersections and differences. The authors explore the difference in the medical and social models of disability and impairment, summarize the volume’s contents, and provide two case studies… Both figures … call out for our careful attention and ask us to reconsider how we might categorize them and their abilities.”

Goodison, Natalie, Deborah J. G. Mackay, and I. K. Temple. “Genetics, Molar Pregnancies and Medieval Ideas of Monstrous Births: The Lump of Flesh in The King of Tars.” Medical Humanities, vol. 45, no. 1, 2019, pp. 2. doi:https://doi.org/10.1136/medhum-2017-011387.

  • From abstract: “…while the text certainly speaks to miscegenation, we propose that this lump of flesh is actually a hydatidiform mole. We trace the hydatidiform mole from antiquity, surrounding it with contextual medieval examples, from theology, history and medicine, that also describe abnormal births as ‘lumps of flesh’. By discussing medieval ideas of monsters as a warning sign, we interpret the lump of flesh in terms of abnormal births, seed transmission, parental contribution and sin. Ideas of warning, blame and intervention present themselves as a response to moles both in medieval texts as well as in modern reactions to hydatidiform moles. We explore the epigenetics of hydatidiform moles and relate them to the medieval text. In The King of Tars, the fault for the lump of flesh could reside with either parent; we find that this is also the case in the genetic formation of the hydatidiform mole; we also argue that the epigenetics supports medieval theories of seed transmission.”

Goodrich, Micah James. “Maimed Limbs and Biosalvation: Rehabilitation Politics in ‘Piers Plowman’.” Trans Historical: Gender Plurality Before the Modern, edited by Anna Klosowska, Masha Raskolnikov, and Greta LaFleur, Cornell UP, pp. 267-96.

  • Abstract: “This chapter focuses on rehabilitation politics in relation to the poem called Piers Plowman. It considers Piers Plowman‘s discussion of debilitated bodies and maimed limbs to critique bodily integration into a social and salvific community. In terms of Piers Plowman, transgender and disability studies in conversation with medieval legal theory and literature show how bodily mutilation and alteration are both created and repudiated by institutional powers. The chapter notes how misshapen bodies regarded in the poem are bodies that do not conform to the shape of society. Moreover, Piers Plowman challenges the work of salvation as a medieval institution since the health of the soul and social body became integrated.”

Guerra, Francesca. “Simplifying Access: Metadata for Medieval Disability Studies.” PNLA Quarterly, vol. 74, no. 2, 2010, pp. 10-26.

Hernigou, Philippe. “Crutch Art Painting in The Middle Age as Orthopaedic Heritage (Part I: The Lepers, The Poliomyelitis, The Cripples).” International Orthopaedics, 38(6), pp. 1329–1335 (2014). doi: 10.1007/s00264-013-2266-x.

—. “Crutch Art Painting in The Middle Age as Orthopaedic Heritage (Part II: The Peg Leg, The Bent-Knee Peg and The Beggar).” International Orthopaedics, 38(7): 1535–1542 (2014). doi: 10.1007/s00264-014-2278-1.

Higl, Andrew. “Henryson’s Textual and Narrative Prosthesis onto Chaucer’s Corpus: Cresseid’s Leprosy and Her Schort Conclusioun,” Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations, edited by Joshua R. Eyler. Routledge 2010.

Hildebrand, Kristina. “Sitting on the Sidelines: Disability in Malory.” Arthuriana, vol. 27, no. 3, 2017, pp. 66-80. DOI:10.1353/art.2017.0024.

  • Abstract: “The presence of a small number of disabled characters in Malory’s text points to the normalization of ability: disability is outside the norm. This article argues that disability is marginalized to the point of invisibility in the text because it is a site of anxiety for the intended audience.”

Hirvonen Vesa. “Late medieval philosophical and theological discussions of mental disorders: Witelo, Oresme, Gerson.” History of Psychiatry. 2018;29(2):165-186. doi:10.1177/0957154X17748312.

  • Abstract: “No matter from which perspective Witelo, Oresme and Gerson approach mental disorders, they think that madness usually has a bodily, such as a humoral or organic, origin. They do, however, consider divine or demonic causes as possibly being behind immediate causes. According to Witelo and the Parisians, because of a change in the body, madmen’s sensory fantasy is disturbed and in this situation their intellect does not act normally, and their will lacks freedom. It is important to realize that, according to the medieval writers, mentally-disordered people have not lost any parts of their soul or their basic potencies. If this were the case, they would not be human beings by definition.”

—. “Mental disorders in commentaries by the late medieval theologians Richard of Middleton, John Duns Scotus, William Ockham and Gabriel Biel on Peter Lombard’s Sentences.” History of Psychiatry. 2018;29(4):409-423. doi:10.1177/0957154X18788514.

  • Abstract: “In their commentaries on the Sentences, Richard of Middleton, John Duns Scotus, William Ockham and Gabriel Biel reflect whether mentally-disturbed people can receive the sacraments (Baptism, Eucharist, confession, marriage) and fulfil juridical actions (make a will or take an oath). They consider that the main problem in ‘madmen’ in relation to the sacraments and legal actions is their lack of the use of reason. Scotus and Ockham especially are interested in the causes of mental disorders and the phenomena which happen in madmen’s minds and bodies. In considering mental disorders mostly as naturally caused psycho-physical phenomena, Scotus and Ockham join the rationalistic mental disorder tradition, which was to become dominant in the early modern era and later.”

Hsy, Jonathan. “Diverging Forms: Disability and the Monk’s Tales.” pp. 85–98. Chaucer and the Subversion of Form, edited by Thomas A. Prendergast and Jessica Rosenfeld. Cambridge U P, 2018, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108147682.005.

—. “Symptom and Surface: Disruptive Deafness and Medieval Medical Authority.” Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, vol. 13, no. 4, 2016, pp. 477-483, doi:10.1007/s11673-016-9744-y.

  • Abstract: “This essay examines constructions of deafness in medieval culture, exploring how deaf experience disrupts authoritative discourses in three textual genres: medical treatise, literary fiction, and autobiographical writing. Medical manuals often present deafness as a physical defect, yet they also suggest how social conditions for deaf people can be transformed in lieu of treatment protocols. Fictional narratives tend to associate deafness with sin or social stigma, but they can also imagine deaf experience with a remarkable degree of sympathy and nuance. Autobiographical writing by deaf authors most vividly challenges diagnostic models of disability, exploring generative forms of perception that deafness can foster. In tracing the disruptive force that deaf experience exerts on perceived notions of textual authority, this essay reveals how medieval culture critiqued the diagnostic power of medical practitioners. Deafness does not simply function as a symptom of an individual problem or a metaphor for a spiritual or social condition; rather, deafness is a transformative capacity affording new modes of knowing self and other.”

Jakobsson, Ármann, et al. “Disability before Disability: Mapping the Uncharted in the Medieval Sagas.” Scandinavian Studies, vol. 92, no. 4, 2020, pp. 440-460. DOI:10.5406/scanstud.92.4.0440.

Kim, Yonsoo. “Teresa De Cartagena’s Illness and Disability as Embodied Knowledge.” Romanic Review, vol. 113, no. 1, 2022, pp. 131-149. DOI:10.1215/00358118-9560724.

Kuuliala, Jenni. Childhood Disability and Social Integration in the Middle Ages: Constructions of Impairments in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Canonization Processes. Brepols, 2016.

—. “Disability and Religious Practices in Late Medieval Prussia: Infirmity and the Miraculous in the Canonization Process of St. Dorothea of Montau (1404–1406)”. 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. 46–74. Brill, 2020. DOI:10.1163/9789004328877_004.

—. “Physical Disability and Bodily Difference”. A Companion to Medieval Miracle Collections, edited by Sari Katajala-Peltomaa, Jenni Kuuliala, and Iona McCleery. Brill, 2021.

—. Saints, Infirmity, and Community in the Late Middle Ages. Amsterdam U P, 2020. DOI:10.1515/9789048533343.

Lawless, Catherine. “Patienthood in Medieval Tuscany: Beliefs and Cures.” Medical Humanities, vol. 42, no. 2, 2016, pp. 76. doi:https://doi.org/10.1136/medhum-2015-010835.

  • From abstract: “This paper focuses on intersections of holy and sick bodies in the Tuscan Middle Ages to examine how the faithful accessed miraculous cures from contact with, or belief in, the relics of the saints. …it will look at the relationship between relatively recent saints and their devotees. The miracles discussed are traditional-that is, they are found in the lives of many saints and are not exceptional. It is hoped, however, that by concentrating on Tuscany, some insights can be secured on the relationship between Tuscan individuals of the late middle ages and those of their community who were recognised, either officially or through vox populi, as saints.”

Lewis, Molly. (2019). “Blob Child” Revisited: Conflations of Monstrosity, Disability, and Race in King of Tars. In: Godden, R., Mittman, A. (eds) Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World. Palgrave Macmillan. DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-25458-2_7.

  • From abstract: “This chapter argues that medieval race scholars must approach the embodied difference of the King of Tars baby as more than simply personifying miscegeny, considering what it would mean to take seriously a body that has neither blood, nor bone, nor nose, nor eye. This chapter explores previously foreclosed readings of the King of Tars baby as human, highlighting the contradiction apparent when scholars critique monstrosity in racial representation, but confirm it in disability.”

Lund, Mary Ann. “Richard’s Back: Death, Scoliosis and Myth Making.” Medical Humanities, vol. 41, no. 2, Apr. 2015. DOI:10.1136/medhum-2014-010647.

McCluskey Karen, Louise St Guillaume, and Daniela Da Silva. “Ability and Disability in the Pictorial Vitae of Beata Fina in Fifteenth-Century San Gimignano.” The Routledge Companion to Art and Disability, edited by Keri Watson and Timothy W. Hiles, Routledge, 2022. DOI:10.4324/9781003009986-8.

  • Abstract: “Visual art has rarely been employed as a source for understanding impairment or disability. Current critical disability methodologies fall short in their capacity to appreciate the complexity of art and its interactions with the many political, socio-economic, and cultural experiences of impairment. To address this gap, we developed an Art and Disability Analysis Model (ADAM). The model specifically interrogates how, when, where, and why people with impairments are represented in the visual record and examines the implications of those portrayals. In this chapter, we explore the efficacy of ADAM focusing specifically on representations of impairment in the pictorial Vitae (visual biographies) of Fina dei Ciardi in fifteenth-century San Gimignano. The close analysis of Fina’s images presented here uncovers a more complex and nuanced interpretation of impairment in the later Middle Ages. Rather than a one-dimensional narrative that understands impairment from a negative theological framework based in sin, the various modalities in ADAM reveal impairment as a key text to explicate an ideal of Christian living and a vehicle for understanding the Christian journey toward union with Christ and, ultimately, salvation.”

McKinstry, Jamie. “Heaviness: Illness, Metaphor, Opportunity.” Postmedieval a Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, 2017, pp. 170-178. DOI:10.1057/s41280-017-0049-z.

  • Abstract: “The relationship between mind, body, and affect is a prominent strand in the medical humanities, and this article explores connections between the thinking subject and affected body in the medieval period, drawing on related areas of metaphor, imagination, and creativity. The medieval condition, or state, of heaviness establishes a link between body and mind and emphasises the importance of expression both for personal health and for effective communication with others. Metaphors combine actual symptoms with creative expressions to give a physical form to extreme sadness, which foregrounds the complex mental, and sometimes imaginatively corporeal, manifestations of disabling inner anguish.”

—. “Perpetual Bodily Trauma: Wounding and Memory in the Middle English Romances.” Medical Humanities, vol. 39, no. 1, 2013, pp. 59, doi:https://doi.org/10.1136/medhum-2012-010199.

  • From abstract: “This paper explores the presentation of trauma in medieval romances, narratives strewn with injured bodies and correspondingly altered personalities and reputations, and compares this with contemporary research relating to trauma and the neurobiology of consciousness. The core issue is one of experience and expression: how an individual feels and continues to suffer trauma, and the ways in which that suffering can be communicated to those around. Through considering this issue, the paper argues for a relationship between the human experience of trauma across the centuries, and with this the combination of corporeal symbol and affect, and the dynamic interaction of a wounded body with time and its later life.”

McNabb, Cameron H., et al. Medieval Disability Sourcebook. Edited by Cameron H. McNabb. punctum books, 2020, doi:10.21983/P3.0276.1.00.

Metzler, Irina. Disability in Medieval Europe: Thinking about Physical Impairment during the High Middle Ages c. 1100-1400. Routledge, 2006., doi:10.4324/9780203016060.

  • From abstract: “…presents a thorough examination of all aspects of physical impairment and disability in medieval Europe. …Metzler presents a theoretical framework of disability and explores key areas such as: medieval theoretical concepts theology and natural philosophy notions of the physical body medical theory and practice.”

—. “Disability in the Middle Ages: Impairment at the Intersection of Historical Inquiry and Disability Studies.” History Compass, vol. 9, no. 1, Jan. 2011, doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2010.00746.x.

—. Fools and Idiots?: Intellectual Disability in the Middle Ages. Manchester U P, 2016.

  • From abstract: “Fools and Idiots? is the first book devoted to the cultural history in the pre-modern period of people we now describe as having learning disabilities. …Metzler considers a neglected field of social and medical history and makes an original contribution to the problem of a shifting concept such as ‘idiocy’. Medieval physicians, lawyers and the schoolmen of the emerging universities wrote the texts which shaped medieval definitions of intellectual ability and its counterpart, disability. In studying such texts, which form part of our contemporary scientific and cultural heritage, we gain a better understanding of which people were considered to be intellectually disabled, and how their participation and inclusion in society differed from the situation today.”

—. “Illogical Thinking: Problems Concerning Medieval Notions of ‘Idiocy’ and ‘Rationality.’” Logical Skills, Springer International, 2021, pp. 137–57, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58446-7_8.

  • Abstract: “This essay looks at the notion of the non-speaking and therefore the presumed non-rational person, whose fully human status was debatable and debated during the Middle Ages, following a development that especially arose from the new intellectual culture of the universities and the impact of Aristotelianism in the thirteenth century. Persons who were congenitally intellectually disabled, as the modern definition has it, could in medieval thinking sometimes reside at the interstices of human, and therefore supposedly fully rational, and non-human (animal) being, an in-between, liminal position often defined according to the individual’s capacity for language and speech, hence the importance of the notion of being both deprived of language and rationality. Children, animals, intellectually disabled but also congenitally deaf people could all be considered irrational due to their lack of speech. These disparate categories, according to modern classifications, demonstrate that medieval systems of knowledge used schema to make sense of the world that differed significantly from modern medico-scientific concepts. Specifically, the essay tries to examine possible reasons for why, on the one hand, humans deemed irrational, illogical (‘idiots’) are not put on trial, yet, on the other hand, animals deemed illogical sometimes are prosecuted.”

—. “Intellectual Disability in the European Middle Ages,” The Oxford Handbook of Disability History, edited by Michael Rembis, Catherine Kudlick, and Kim E. Nielsen. Oxford U P, 2018, DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190234959.013.4.

  • From abstract: “This investigation of intellectual disability in the Middle Ages uncovers narratives of this perceived condition in the historical sources. … This new and specific discussion seeks to reframe the paradigm of what constituted intellectual disability at different periods in both medieval and modern times. Philosophically, and subsequently judicially, medieval intellectual disability was considered the absence of reason, representing the irrational, which contrasted the mentally disabled with the Aristotelian concept of the human being as the rational animal. Medieval terminology employed a fluidity of definitions, which highlights the constructedness of terms revolving around intellectual disability.”

—. “Liminality and Disability: Spatial and Conceptual Aspects of Physical Impairment in Medieval Europe.” Medicine and Space: Body, Surroundings and Borders in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, eds. Patricia A. Baker, Han Nijdam, Karine van ‘t Land. Brill, 2011. DOI:10.1163/9789004226500_013.

—. A Social History of Disability in the Middle Ages: Cultural Considerations of Physical Impairment. Taylor and Francis, 2013, doi:10.4324/9780203371169.

—. “‘Will-Nots’ and ‘Cannots’: Tracing a Trope in Medieval Thought.”Intellectual Disability: A Conceptual Disability, 1200-1900, edited by Patrick McDonagh, C. F. Goodey, and Tim Stainton, pp. 45-63. Manchester U P, 2018.

Mian, Ali A. “Mental Disability in Medieval Hanafī Legalism.” Islamic Studies, vol. 51, no. 3, 2012, pp. 247-262.

Micarelli, Ileana. “Osteobiographical Investigation of Disability and Care in Medieval Europe.” Bulletins Et Mémoires De La Société d’Anthropologie De Paris, vol. 35, no. s, 2023. DOI:10.4000/bmsap.11367.

Micarelli, Ileana et al. “Disability and care in Western Europe during Medieval times: A bioarchaeological perspective.” International Journal of Paleopathology, vol. 44, 2024, pp. 119-125. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2024.01.004.

Miles, M. (2002) “Some Historical Texts on Disability in the Classical Muslim World,” Journal of Religion, Disability & Health, 6:2-3, 77-88, DOI: 10.1300/J095v06n02_09.

  • Abstract: “The paper reviews brief texts in the Qur’an and hadiths, the Hedaya of al-Marghinani, and some historical Arab education literature, that have pertinence to people with disabilities. The selection intends to be informative rather than definitive.”

Miller, Stephanie R. “Disability and Poverty at the Brancacci Chapel.” Disability and Art History from Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century, edited by Millett-Gallant, Ann, and Elizabeth Howie, Routledge, 2022, pp. 37 – 53. DOI:10.4324/9781003048602-5.

Mock, Sean. “’Against a Dwarf’: The Medieval Motif of the Antagonistic Dwarf and its Role in Contemporary Literature and Film.” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, vol. 14, no. 2, 2020, pp. 155-170, doi:10.3828/jlcds.2020.8.

Montroso, Alan S. (2019). “Dwelling Underground in The Book of John Mandeville: Monstrosity, Disability, Ecology.” In: Godden, R., Mittman, A. (eds) Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 285 – 302. DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-25458-2_14.

Neufeld, Christine M. “A Dwarf in King Arthur’s Court: Perceiving Disability in Arthurian Romance.” Arthuriana, vol. 25, no. 4, 2015, pp. 25-35, doi:10.1353/art.2015.0056.

O’Toole, Mark P. “Disability and the Suppression of Historical Identity: Rediscovering the Professional Backgrounds of the Blind Residents of the Hôpital des Quinze-Vingts,” Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations, edited by Joshua R. Eyler. Routledge 2010.

Orlemanski, Julie. “Literary Genre, Medieval Studies, and the Prosthesis of Disability.” Textual Practice, vol. 30, no. 7, 2016, pp. 1253-1272, doi:10.1080/0950236X.2016.1229907.

Parker, Leah Pope. (2019). “Eschatology for Cannibals: A System of Aberrance in the Old English Andreas.” In: Godden, R., Mittman, A. (eds) Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World. Palgrave Macmillan. DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-25458-2_11.

Parlopiano, Brandon T. “The Burden of Proving Insanity in the Medieval Ius Commune.” The Jurist, vol. 72, no. 2, 2012, pp. 515-543. DOI:10.1353/jur.2012.0062.

—. “Propter Deformitatem: Towards a Concept of Disability in Medieval Canon Law.” Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, vol. 4, no. 3, 2015, doi:10.15353/cjds.v4i3.232.

Pearman, Tory V. “Disability, Blood, and Liminality in Malory’s ‘Tale of the Sankgreal’.” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, vol. 10, no. 3, 2016, pp. 271-286. DOI:10.3828/jlcds.2016.24.

  • Abstract: “Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur figures ability as the normative center of the chivalric code; therefore, characters with disabilities are often barred from full participation in the chivalric community, particularly in the acts necessary to knightly identity. At the same time, however, knights use their wounds incurred on the battlefield to demonstrate their prowess. As a result, the text construes disability as an ambiguous, even liminal state that threatens a cohesive notion of knighthood. ‘The Tale of the Sankgreal’ disrupts this normative structure; here, disability emerges from the margins of the text, always in connection with blood. In particular the experiences of Lancelot, Perceval’s sister, and Galahad exemplify the ways in which disability, blood, and knighthood intersect within the liminal space of the Grail Quest.”

—. Disability and Knighthood in Malory’s Morte Darthur. Routledge, 2019/2018, doi:10.4324/9780429445453.

  • From abstract: “This book considers the representation of disability and knighthood in Malory’s Morte Darthur. The study asserts that Malory’s unique definition of knighthood, which emphasizes the unstable nature of the knight’s physical body and the body of chivalry to which he belongs, depends upon disability. As a result, a knight must perpetually oscillate between disability and ability in order to maintain his status. The knights’ movement between disability and ability is also essential to the project of Malory’s book, as well as its narrative structure, as it reflects the text’s fixation on and alternation between the wholeness and fragmentation of physical and social bodies. Disability in its many forms undergirds the book, helping to cohere the text’s multiple and sometimes disparate chapters into the ‘hoole book’ that Malory envisions. The Morte, thus, construes disability as an as an ambiguous, even liminal state that threatens even as it shores up the cohesive notion of knighthood the text endorses.”

—. “O Sweete Venym Queynte!’: Pregnancy and the Disabled Female Body in the Merchant’s Tale,” Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations, edited by Joshua R. Eyler. Routledge 2010.

—. “Refiguring Disability: Deviance, Blinding, and the Supernatural in Thomas Chestre’S Sir Launfal.” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, vol. 3, no. 2, 2009, pp. 131-146, doi:10.1353/jlc.0.0015.

—. Women and Disability in Medieval Literature. Palgrave Macmillian, 2010, doi:10.1057/9780230117563.

  • Abstract: “This book is first in its field to analyze how disability and gender both thematically and formally operate within late medieval popular literature. Reading romance, conduct manuals, and spiritual autobiography, it proposes a ‘gendered model’ for exploring the processes by which differences like gender and disability get coded as deviant.”

Pedersen, David. “Experiencing Authority: The Wife of Bath’s Deaf Ear and the Flawed Exegesis of St. Jerome.” Medieval Feminist Forum, vol. 55, no. 2, 2020, pp. 98-114, DOI:10.17077/1536-8742.2112.

  • Noting that scholars have paid markedly little attention of the Wife of Bath’s disability, Pedersen “attempts to attend to the deaf ear on its own terms. Rather than assuming that the Wife is tragic, comic, or heroic and then fitting the deafness into this reading, my goal is to unpack what the deaf ear might tell us in its own right about the Wife or her contribution to The Canterbury Tales. When the deafness is allowed to step into the spotlight, I believe it shifts focus from the character of the Wife herself to the misogyny of the medieval clerical culture, typified by St. Jerome’s Adversus Jovinianum, that deafened her to scripture… In other words, the deaf ear speaks to the often debated characterization of the Wife by suggesting that anything we find distasteful or upsetting about her is the fault of her misogynistic clerical teachers.”

Rajendran, Shyama. (2019). E(race)ing the Future: Imagined Medieval Reproductive Possibilities and the Monstrosity of Power. In: Godden, R., Mittman, A. (eds) Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 127 – 143. DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-25458-2_6.

  • Abstract: “This chapter performs an intersectional reading of The Man of Law’s Tale and The King of Tars to explore how these late medieval romances construct normative power structures and argues that reproductive futurity (as imagined in these two stories) creates the crossroads that brings together monstrosity, race, and disability through their erasure. Focusing on identity elimination makes the case for attending to structures of power and oppression that create constructions of otherness in these narratives. Focusing on identity construction, and how difference is catalogued, carries the danger of reifying the worldview of these medieval narratives in our own scholarship. The two medieval narratives in this chapter are extremely invested in setting norms through their imagined reproductive futures, as they are entirely centered around the question of bodily legibility—each text defines, and thus preserves, legible bodies while eliminating illegible bodies. Considering the norm, rather than difference, as monstrous inverts the reification of race and disability presented by the texts, illustrates the structures of power that give us the imagined futures in question, and also demonstrates how they are enacted through the bodies of women.”

Reibe, Nicole. (2018) “The Convent of the Infirmed: Teresa de Cartagena’s Religious Model of Disability,” Journal of Disability & Religion, 22:2, 130-145, DOI: 10.1080/23312521.2018.1453312.

  • From abstract: “Teresa de Cartagena … offers a different construction of disability, one born out of actual experience of physical disability. …Teresa de Cartagena offers a biting critique of the social systems that exacerbate the problems faced by persons who are ‘infirmed’ and ‘afflicted.’ She rebuffs those who think that the ill are lazy or lack patience. Instead, she depicts illness as a neutral situation that allows persons the opportunity to purge vice and develop virtues. By drawing a distinction between suffering itself and suffering as a situation, she creates a space in which the harsh realities of disability – loneliness, poverty, and physical pain – are neither diminishing nor totalizing, and presents a detailed account of how physical suffering can be a spiritual charism.”

Richardson, Kristina. Difference and Disability in the Medieval Islamic World: Blighted Bodies. Edinburgh U P, 2012, doi:10.3366/j.ctt3fgqv5.

—. “Domestic Violence in Medieval Disability Narratives.” International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 51, no. 1, 2019, pp. 113-115, doi:10.1017/S0020743818001198.

Robinson, Carol L. “Go Ask Alisoun: Geoffrey Chaucer and Deafland (Deafness as Authority).” Literature Compass, vol. 15, no. 6, 2018, pp. e12454-n/a. DOI:10.1111/lic3.12454.

Rogers, Will. Writing Old Age and Impairments in Late Medieval England, Arc Humanities P, 2021. DOI:10.1515/9781641892551.

Rubalcava, Holly N. “Bodies of Difference: Disability and Otherness in the Twelfth-Century Japanese Yamai no sōshi *.” The Routledge Companion to Art and Disability, edited by Keri Watson and Timothy W. Hiles, Routledge, 2022.

  • Abstract: “Comprising twenty-one scenes and depicting people with various illnesses, disfigurements, and impairments, the Yamai no sōshi has long been seen as on oddity among other Heian-period illustrated handscrolls. Questions of original function and patronage have dominated scholarship on the scroll, but this chapter approaches its visual-verbal representations of bodily ‘otherness,’ particularly of ill and disabled people, as indicators of broader socio-cultural concerns about ‘abnormal’ human bodies. The essay analyzes the figural relationships within each scene’s painting paying attention to ways in which the person with a condition is apprehended by the scene’s secondary figures while also considering the content and tone of the text in relation to the paintings. Care is taken to situate the scroll within the specific historical context in which it was produced in order to draw out nuanced articulations of how the body and disability were socially constructed at that time. Ultimately, it concludes that apparent and chronic conditions were more highly stigmatized than invisible or temporary conditions, and it recognizes that levels of stigmatization were largely dependent on the aesthetic expectations negotiated by the figure’s other identity positions, such as gender and class.”

Sayers, Edna Edith. “Experience, Authority, and the Mediation of Deafness: Chaucer’s Wife of Bath,” Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations, edited by Joshua R. Eyler. Routledge 2010.

Sayers, William. “Kingship and the Hero’s Flaw: Disfigurement as Ideological Vehicle in Early Irish Narrative.” Disability Studies Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 4, 1997, https://dsq-sds.org/.

Scarborough, Connie L. Viewing Disability in Medieval Spanish Texts: Disgraced Or Graced. Amsterdam U P, 2018, doi:10.5040/9789048551231.

Schattner, Angela. “Disabled to Work? Impairment, the in/ability to Work and Perceptions of dis/ability in Late Medieval and Early Modern Germany.” Disability Studies Quarterly, vol. 37, no. 4, 2017, https://dsq-sds.org/article/view/6105.

Sexton, John P. “Difference and Disability: On the Logic of Naming in the Icelandic Sagas,” Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations, edited by Joshua R. Eyler. Routledge 2010.

Singer, Julie. “Able-Bodied Fragility.” Digital Philology, vol. 9, no. 1, 2020, pp. 47-68, doi:10.1353/dph.2020.0003.

—. Blindness and Therapy in Late Medieval French and Italian Poetry. Boydell and Brewer, 2011.

  • From abstract: “This book argues that late medieval love poets … exploit scientific models as a broad framework within which to redefine the limits of the lyric subject and his body. Just as humoraltheory [sic] depends upon principles of likes and contraries in order to heal, poetry makes possible a parallel therapeutic system in which verbal oppositions and substitutions counter or rewrite received medical wisdom. The specific case of blindness, a disability that according to the theories of love that predominated in the late medieval West foreclosed the possibility of love, serves as a laboratory in which to explore poets’ circumvention of the logical limits of contemporary medical theory. Reclaiming the power of remedy from physicians, these late medieval French and Italian poets prompt us to rethink not only the relationship between scientific and literary authority at the close of the middle ages, but, more broadly speaking, the very notion of therapy.”

—. “Chronicle Conditions.” Romanic Review, vol. 113, no. 1, 2022, pp. 112-130. DOI:10.1215/00358118-9560716.

  • From abstract: “…’chronic illness’ can disrupt perceptions of the linearity of time, yielding alternate temporalities grounded in bodily experience. … But what about genres, like premodern historiography, that impose a linear, chronological framework? What is at stake when the narrative temporality of a medieval chronicle is filtered through the disrupted temporalities of a chronically impaired subject? This article interrogates these questions through the works of Gilles li Muisis (1272–1353). …Gilles authored both a Latin chronicle and of a set of vernacular poems situating his writerly activity within a very specific corporeal context: he writes … after cataracts have so impaired his vision that he can no longer carry out his administrative duties at the abbey of Saint-Martin—and, remarkably, he abandons his writing after a successful surgery restores his eyesight. The ways in which Gilles talks about his own bodily condition, in both the chronicle and the poems, constitute an elaborate metadiscursive frame whose ultimate effect is to construct the project of the chronicler as a kind of self-writing avant la lettre. With readings of both the Latin and the vernacular works, this essay shows that the chronicle is achieved through a series of subtle chronological and sensory displacements: Gilles’s chronic condition has enabled him to create an subject-position, outside of both linear historiographical time and the “body-time” of his impairment.”

—. “Disability and the Social Body.” Postmedieval: A Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies, vol. 3, no. 2, 2012, pp. 135-141, doi:10.1057/pmed.2012.15.

—. “Lyrical Humor(s) in the ‘Fumeur” Songs,’ 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/9780199331444.013.26.

—. “Playing by Ear: Compensation, Reclamation, and Prosthesis in Fourteenth-Century Song,” Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations, edited by Joshua R. Eyler. Routledge 2010.

—. Representing Mental Illness in Late Medieval France: Machines, Madness, Metaphor. vol. 43., D.S. Brewer, an imprint of Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 2018, doi:10.1017/9781787443334.

  • Abstract: “An exploration of the medieval mind as a machine, and how it might be affected and immobiled, in textual reactions to the madness of Charles VI of France.”

—. “Toward a Transhuman Model of Medieval Disability.” Postmedieval: A Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies, vol. 1, no. 1-2, 2010, pp. 173-179, doi:10.1057/pmed.2009.4.

Skinner, Patricia. Living with Disfigurement in Early Medieval Europe. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, doi:10.1057/978-1-137-54439-1.

Skoda, Hannah. “Representations of Disability in the Thirteenth-Century Miracles de Saint Louis,” Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations, edited by Joshua R. Eyler, Routledge, 2010.

Sprunger, David A. “Depicting the Insane: A Thirteenth-Century Case Study.” In Marvels, Monsters, and Miracles: Studies in the Medieval and Early Modern Imaginations, edited by Timothy S. Jones and David A. Sprunger. Western Michigan U P, 2002.

Steel, Karl. (2019). “Muteness and Disembodied Difference: Three Case Studies.” In: Godden, R., Mittman, A. (eds) Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 305 – 314. DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-25458-2_15.

Sveinsdóttir, Hólmfríður. “A Material Culture of Medieval Disability: Contextualising Norwegian Votive Offerings.” Norwegian Archaeological Review, April 2024, pp. 1–20. doi:10.1080/00293652.2024.2332383.

From abstract: “…the potential for material culture studies within the history of disability is explored through a study of preserved anatomical votives from medieval Norway left in connection with miraculous healing practices. The Norwegian votives, which include wooden body parts … as well as mobility aids, are here related to the lived experience of the physically impaired. Anatomical votives have been interpreted as meaningful depictions of how an individual conceptualised the body part in question, which they sought healing for. Through a posthumanist approach, anatomical votives can, however, not only be seen as solely representational of a body part but as material extensions of the body. Preserved mobility aids, here identified as hand-trestles and a knee-brace, provide insight into the availability of aids for individuals with lower limb impairments in the medieval North. The study of the material culture of disability can elucidate cultural notions of disability in relation to physical impairment.”

Swenson, Haylie. (2019). “Attending to ‘Beasts Irrational’ in Gower’s Visio Anglie.” In: Godden, R., Mittman, A. (eds) Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 163 – 180. DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-25458-2_8.

  • From abstract: “The essay argues for considering animality as a key disavowed marker of both monstrosity and disability, as well as for John Gower’s Vox Clamantis as an instructive meeting ground for these intersecting fields.”.

Tirosh, Yoav. “Deafness and Nonspeaking in Late Medieval Iceland (1200–1550).” Viator, vol. 51, no. 1, 2020, pp. 311-344, doi:10.1484/J.VIATOR.5.127050.

Tovey, Beth. “Kingly Impairments in Anglo-Saxon Literature: God’s Curse and God’s Blessing,” Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations, edited by Joshua R. Eyler, Routledge, 2010.

Tracy, Kisha G. “Representations of Disability: The Medieval Literary Tradition of the Fisher King,” Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations, edited by Joshua R. Eyler, Routledge, 2010.

Trembinski, Donna. Illness and Authority: Disability in the Life and Lives of Francis of Assisi. U of Toronto P, 2020.

  • From abstract: “Illness and Authority examines the lived experience and early stories about St. Francis of Assisi through the lens of disability studies. This new approach recentres Francis’ illnesses and infirmities and highlights how they became barriers to wielding traditional modes of masculine authority within both the Franciscan Order he founded and the church hierarchy. … Unlike other studies of Francis’ ailments, Illness and Authority focuses on the impact of his illnesses on his autonomy and secular power, rather than his spiritual authority.”

Turner, Wendy J. Care and Custody of the Mentally Ill, Incompetent, and Disabled in Medieval England. vol. 16, Brepols, 2013.

—. “Conceptualization of Intellectual Disability in Medieval English Law.” Intellectual Disability: A Conceptual Disability, 1200-1900, edited by Patrick McDonagh, C. F. Goodey, and Tim Stainton, pp. 26-44. Manchester U P, 2018. DOI:10.7765/9781526125323.00009.

—. “Mental Incapacity And The Financing Of War In Medieval England.” The Hundred Years War (Part II): Different Vistas, eds. Andrew Villalon and Donald Kagay, Brill, 2008, pp. 387–402. DOI:10.1163/ej.9789004168213.i-480.117.

Van Deusen, Natalie M. “Miraculously Cured: On Physical, Sensory, and Mental Difference in the Biskupa sögur“. The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 1 January 2024; 123 (1): 1–23. doi: https://doi.org/10.5406/1945662X.123.1.01.

Verner, Lisa. “Medieval monsters, in theory and practice.” Medicina nei secoli 26 1 (2014): 43-68.

  • From abstract: “…a tendency to treat the medieval monster in purely symbolic and psychological terms ignores the lived experiences of impaired medieval people and their culture’s attitudes toward them. With the aid of recent insights provided by disability studies, this article aims to confront ‘real’ medieval monsters–e.g., physically impaired human beings–in both their human and monstrous aspects.”

Wallace, Leslie V. “The Role of Dwarfs in Tang Postmortem Elite Life.” Disability and Art History from Antiquity to the Twenty-First Century, edited by Millett-Gallant, Ann, and Elizabeth Howie, Routledge, 2022.

Weinreich, Spencer J. (2019). “How a Monster Means: The Significance of Bodily Difference in the Christopher Cynocephalus Tradition.” In: Godden, R., Mittman, A. (eds) Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 181 – 207. DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-25458-2_9.

Weiskott, Eric. “Cumulative Revision in John Gower’s Quicquid Homo Scribat.” English Studies, vol. 103, no. 4, 2022, pp. 547-554. DOI:10.1080/0013838X.2022.2050613.

  • Weiskott “reads revision in Quicquid homo scribat between Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept of the rhizome and Julie Singer’s concept of lyric prosthesis.” The author considers the revisions to “John Gower’s twice-revised short Latin poem on his blindness” in terms of compulsion and proposes “understand[ing] the text on the page as a prosthesis constructed to enable the author to confront difficult circumstances” (from abstract).

Wells, Scott. “The Exemplary Blindness of Francis of Assisi,” Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations, edited by Joshua R. Eyler, Routledge, 2010.

Wheatley, Edward. “Monsters, Saints, and Sinners: Disability in Medieval Literature.” The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability, edited by Clare Barker and Stuart Murray, Cambridge U P, 2018, pp. 17–31. DOI:10.1017/9781316104316.003.

—. “A River Runs through it: Disability, Homosexuality, Queered/Disabled Discourse, and the Isle of Blandie in Bérinus.” Exemplaria, vol. 19, no. 3, 2007, pp. 386-401, doi:10.1179/175330707X237267.

—. Stumbling Blocks before the Blind: Medieval Constructions of a Disability. U of Michigan P, 2010, doi:10.3998/mpub.915892.

Williams, Scott M. Disability in Medieval Christian Philosophy and Theology. Taylor and Francis, 2020, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429202919.

Willits, Catherine. “The Obfuscation of Bodily Sight in the Showings of Julian of Norwich.” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, vol. 8, no. 1, 2014, pp. 81-96, doi:10.3828/jlcds.2014.6.