"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
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.
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.