Viewing Disability in Medieval Spanish Texts
Viewing Disability in Medieval Spanish Texts
Disgraced or Graced
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Table of Contents
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Dedication and Acknowledgements Introduction: Disability Theory and Pre-Modern Considerations Disability Theories: Definitions and Limitations Adopting Disability Studies for the Pre-Modern Era The Role of the Church and Christian Beliefs Disability Studies and Literary Texts Goals and Organization Chapter 1: Lameness — Los Contrechos Definitions and Theories Legal Status Historical and Pseudo-Scientific Accounts Work and Occupational Hazards Mobility Devices Divine Punishment Ridicule and Example The Monstrous Chapter 2: Blindness — Los Ciegos Medieval Concepts of Sight Causes for Loss of Sight Religious Beliefs Begging and Charity Blinding as Judicial Punishment Blinding as Divine Punishment Self-Blinding Comic Potential Chapter 3: Deaf and Inability to Speak — Los Sordomudos Deaf vs. deaf Legal Status Cures (?) Popular Refrains and Wisdom Literatures Spiritual Autobiography/Pathography/Consolation Loss of Speech Chapter 4: Leprosy — Los Gafos Medical Knowledge Segregation (?) The Leper as Metaphor Leprosy as Divine Punishment Leper as Holy Messenger Leper as Figure in Religious History Leprosy and ‘ŸTests of Friendship’Œ Chapter 5: Cured by the Grace of Gods — Los Milagros The Medieval Concept of Miracle Miracle Accounts Missing Limbs Lameness and Paralysis Multiple Impairments Blindness Deafness and Inability to Speak Leprosy Interdependence of Disability and Divine Cure Chapter 6: Conclusions Works Cited — Primary Sources Works Cited — Secondary Sources

Reviews and Features

"While concentrating on an analysis of texts as a cultural representation of impairment, this study meticulously evaluates the historical and social circumstances in which the texts were created, including the relevant medical, theological, and legal systems. ... Scholars of disability studies, medieval literature, and the history of Spain, in particular, may feel indebted to Connie Scarborough for this exceptional comprehensive investigation." - Yonsoo Kim, Speculum 95/1 (January 2020) "The book’s most striking chapter is that which considers deafness and the inability to speak. Not only does this chapter discuss the fascinating case study of Teresa de Cartagena, but it also uses disability theory to critique existing scholarship. Scarborough recognises the ‘unique kind of marginalisation’ associated with deafness in the Middle Ages: she questions the normalcy of speech, and explores how deaf people functioned in a society that was largely illiterate and dependent on oral culture." - Rachael Gillibrand, English Histroical Review, October 2020

Connie Scarborough

Viewing Disability in Medieval Spanish Texts

Disgraced or Graced

This book is one of the first to examine medieval Spanish canonical works for their portrayals of disability in relationship to theological teachings, legal precepts, and medical knowledge. Connie L. Scarborough shows that physical impairments were seen differently through each lens. Theology at times taught that the disabled were "marked by God," their sins rendered on their bodies; at other times, they were viewed as important objects of Christian charity. The disabled often suffered legal restrictions, allowing them to be viewed with other distinctive groups, such as the ill or the poor. And from a medical point of view, a miraculous cure could be seen as evidence of divine intervention. This book explores all these perspectives through medieval Spain's miracle narratives, hagiographies, didactic tales, and epic poetry.
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Connie Scarborough

Connie L. Scarborough is Professor in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures at Texas Tech University and Co-Director of the Program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Her most recent book, Inscribing the Environment, applies theories of ecocriticism to Medieval Spanish Text.