This book considers early modern and postmodern ideals of health, vigor, ability, beauty, well-being, and happiness, uncovering and historicizing the complex negotiations among physical embodiment, emotional response, and communally-sanctioned behavior in Shakespeare's literary and material world. The volume visits a series of questions about the history of the body and how early modern cultures understand physical ability or vigor, emotional competence or satisfaction, and joy or self-fulfillment. Individual essays investigate the purported disabilities of the "crook-back" King Richard III or the "corpulent" Falstaff, the conflicts between different health-care belief-systems in The Taming of the Shrew and Hamlet, the power of figurative language to delineate or even instigate puberty in the Sonnets or Romeo and Juliet, and the ways in which the powerful or moneyed mediate the access of the poor and injured to cure or even to care. Integrating insights from Disability Studies, Health Studies, and Happiness Studies, this book develops both a detailed literary-historical analysis and a provocative cultural argument about the emphasis we place on popular notions of fitness and contentment today.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Shakespeare’s "Discourse of Disability" Sujata Iyengar PART I: Nation 2. Teeth Before Eyes: Impairment and Invisibility in Shakespeare’s Richard III Allison P. Hobgood 3. A "Grievous Burden": Richard III and the Legacy of Monstrous Birth Geoffrey A. Johns 4. Obsession/Rationality/Agency: Autistic Shakespeare Sonya Freeman Loftis and Lisa Ulevich 5. Seeing Feelingly: Sight and Service in King Lear Amrita Dhar 6. "Strange virtue": Staging Acts of Cure Katherine Schaap Williams 7. Shakespeare and Civic Health Matt Kozusko PART II: Sex 8. "The King’s Part": James I, The Lake-Ros Affair, and the Play of Purgation Hillary M. Nunn 9. "Gambol Faculties" and "Halting Bravery": Falstaff, Will Kemp, and Impaired Masculinity Catherine E. Doubler 10. Flower Imagery and Botanical Illustration: Health and Sexual Generation in Romeo and Juliet Darlena Ciraulo 11. Shakespeare’s Embodied Ontology of Gender, Air, and Health Sujata Iyengar PART III: Emotion 12. Speaking Medicine: A Paracelsian Parody of the Humors in The Taming of the Shrew Nathanial B. Smith 13. Catching the Plague: Love, Happiness, Health and Disease in Shakespeare Ian Frederick Moulton 14. Breastfeeding, Grief, and the Fluid Economy of Healthy Children in Shakespeare’s Plays Ariane M. Balizet 15. The Worm and the Flesh: Cankered Bodies in Shakespeare’s Sonnets Alanna Skuse 16. Afterword: Ten Times Happier Katharine A. Craik
Sujata Iyengar, Professor of English at the University of Georgia, earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University. She has written two scholarly monographs, Shades of Difference: Mythologies of Skin Color in Early Modern England (2005) and Shakespeare’s Medical Language (2011 and 2014).