Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature / Edition 1

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Inaugurates a new field of disability studies by framing disability as a minority discourse rather than a medical one, revising oppressive narratives and revealing liberatory ones. The book examines disabled figures in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and Rebecca Harding Davis's Life in the Iron Mills, in African-American novels by Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde, and in the popular cultural ritual of the freak show.

Columbia University Press

A 1997Choice Outstanding Book of the Year

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A well-written and provocative beginning to a conversation about disability that is long overdue among scholars in literary and cultural studies.

Columbia University Press

Sander L. Gilman
Provides complex answers to the puzzle of American images of disabilities from the nineteenth century to the present. This is a solid, useful book which all readers interested in the relationship between society and culture must read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231105170
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/30/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 1,046,363
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.01 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is Professor of English at Emory University, where her fields of study are disability studies, American literature and culture, feminist theory, and bioethics. Her work develops the field of critical disability studies in the health humanities, broadly understood, to bring forward disability access, inclusion and identity to communities inside and outside of the academy. She is the author of Staring: How We Look and the editor of Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface and AcknowledgmentsPart 1.....Politicizing Bodily Differences1 Disability, Identity, and Representation: An IntroductionThe Disabled Figure in CultureThe Disabled Figure in LiteratureThe Gap Between Representation and RealityAn Overview and a Manifesto2 Theorizing DisabilityFeminist Theory, the Body, and the Disabled FigureSociocultural Analyses of the Extraordinary BodyThe Disabled Figure and the Ideology of Liberal IndividualismThe Disabled Figure and the Problem of WorkPart 2.....Constructing Disabled Figures: Cultural and Literary Sites3 The Cultural Work of American Freak Shows, 1835-1940The Spectacle of the Extraordinary BodyConstituting the Average ManIdentification and the Longing for DistinctionFrom Freak to Specimen: "The Hottest Venus" and "The Ugliest Woman in the World"The End of the Prodigious Body4 Benevolent Maternalism and the Disabled Women in Stowe, Davis and PhelpsTHe Maternal Benefactress and Her Disabled SistersThe Disabled Figure as a Call for Justice: Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's CabinEmpowering the Maternal BenefactressBenevolent Maternalism's Flight from the Body: Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's CabinThe Female Body as LiabilityTwo Opposing Scripts of Female Embodiment: Rebecca Harding Davis's Life in the Iron MillsThe Triumph of the Beautiful, Disembodied HeroineElizabeth Stuart Phelps's The Silent Partner5 Disabled Women as Powerful Women in Petry, Morrison, and LordeRevising Black Female SUbjectivityThe Extraordinary Woman as Powerful Woman / Ann Petry's The StreetFrom the Grotesque to the CyborgThe Extraordinary Body as the Historicized Body / Tony Morrison's Disabled WomenThe Extraordinary Subject: Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My NameThe Poetics of ParticularityConclusion: From Pathology to IdentityNotesBibliographyIndex

Columbia University Press

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