01 CAC MW4 18680 DIEHL CI-101
Enlightenment and Disability
This course approaches later eighteenth-century British literature through the lens of disability studies. When writers and thinkers in the eighteenth-century sought out what exactly defined personhood, they usually considered an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing in the process. Figures that fell outside of the “norm” sometimes became the subject of jokes, puns, and stories in the literary marketplace. In assessing the role of disability in eighteenth-century literature, we will consider both the writing and the representation of individuals with disabilities during the period, in both fiction and non-fiction. Beginning with William Hay’s Deformity: An Essay (1754), our course will examine the connection between deformity and beauty, the lived experience of disability, and the creation of narrative. Students will be encouraged to think about issues of intersectionality, accessibility, race, class, and gender. Major authors may include Sarah Scott, Laurence Sterne, Frances Burney, and Maria Edgeworth.