The Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability

Edited By

Alice Hall

ISBN 9781138043602
Published May 12, 2020 by Routledge
412 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability brings together some of the most influential and important contemporary perspectives in this growing field. The book traces the history of the field and locates literary disability studies in the wider context of activism and theory. It introduces debates about definitions of disability and explores intersectional approaches in which disability is understood in relation to gender, race, class, sexuality, nationality and ethnicity. Divided broadly into sections according to literary genre, this is an important resource for those interested in exploring and deepening their knowledge of the field of literature and disability studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction to The Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability

Alice Hall

Part I: New Directions in the Field

  1. Disability in Indigenous Literature
  2. Siobhan Senier

  3. Disability in Black Speculative Fiction
  4. Sami Schalk

  5. t4t: Towards a Crip Ethics of Trans Literary Criticism
  6. Cameron Awkward-Rich

  7. Challenging Photocentrism: Writing Signs and Bilingual Deaf Literatures
  8. Kristen Harmon

  9. "Here There Be Monsters": Mapping Novel Representations of the Relationship between Disability and Monstrosity in Recent Graphic Narratives and Comic Books
  10. Chris Foss

  11. Spectrality, Strangeness, and Stigmaphilia: Gothic and Critical Disability Studies
  12. Sara Wasson

  13. Contemporary Horror and Disability: Adaptations and Active Readers
  14. Petra Kuppers

    Part II: Novels and Short Stories

  15. From "Changelings" to "Libtards": Intellectual Disability in the Eighteenth Century and Beyond
  16. D. Christopher Gabbard

  17. Crip Gothic: Affiliations of Disability and Queerness in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764)
  18. Jason S. Farr

  19. "Of wonderful use to everyone": Disability and the Marriage Plot in the Nineteenth-Century Novel
  20. Clare Walker Gore

  21. Afro-modernism and Black Disability Studies
  22. Jess Waggoner

  23. "What’s the Matter with Him?": Intellectual Disability, Jewishness, and Stereotype in Bernard Malamud’s "Idiots First"
  24. Howard Sklar

  25. Metaphorical Medicine: Disability in Anglophone Indian Fiction
  26. Stephanie Yorke

  27. Disability and Contemporary Literature: Antinormative Narratives of Embodiment
  28. David T. Mitchell

    Part III: Poetry

  29. Poet and Beggar: Edmund White’s Blindness
  30. Vanessa Warne

  31. Deafness and Modernism
  32. Rebecca Sanchez

  33. The "Fury of Loving Joyfully": Amelia Rosselli’s War Variations
  34. Elizabeth Leake

  35. Getting There: Pain Poetics and Canadian Literature
  36. Shane Neilson

  37. Disability in Contemporary Poetry
  38. Johanna Emeney

  39. Disability Poetry: Testing the Waters of Definition
  40. Michael Northen

    Part IV: Drama

  41. Canadian Disability Dramaturgies
  42. Kirsty Johnston

  43. Disability and the American Stage Musical
  44. Samuel Yates

  45. Of Scapegoats and Men: Shane Meadow’s Dead Man’s Shoes and the Politics of Learning Disability
  46. Anna Harpin

  47. Disability, Drama, and the Problem of Intersectional Invisibility
  48. Ann M. Fox

  49. Puppets, Players and the Poetics of Vulnerability: Hijinx’s Meet Fred and New Directions in the Theatres of Learning Disability
  50. Matt Hargrave

    Part V: Life Writing

  51. Sex, Death, and the Welfare Check: Rhythms of Disability and Sexuality in David Wojnarowicz’s Close to the Knives
  52. Leon J. Hilton

  53. Disability Narrative, Embodied Aesthetics and Cross-Media Arts
  54. Stella Bolaki

  55. A Grammar of Touch: Interdependencies of Person, Place, Thing
  56. Shannon Walters

  57. Psychographics: Graphic Memoirs and Psychiatric Disability
  58. Elizabeth J. Donaldson

  59. Challenging the Neurotypical: Autism, Contemporary Literature, and Digital Textualities

Hannah Tweed

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Alice Hall teaches in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York, UK. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and has previously worked at the University of Nottingham and the University of Paris (III and VII). Alice is the author of Disability and Modern Fiction: Faulkner, Morrison, Coetzee and the Nobel Prize for Literature (2012) and Literature and Disability: Contemporary Critical Thought (2015).


Titles in the "Routledge Companions" series introduce scholarly perspectives on particular subjects. The present volume surveys scholarship written at the intersection of literary studies, disability studies, and related fields. In her introduction, Hall (English, Univ. of York, UK) proposes that "literary and theoretical writing about disability provides ... a means of examining the narratives [that] shape and [give] meaning" to life. Hall presents the essays in five parts. Prioritizing areas "traditionally under-researched in disability studies," part 1 includes essays that break new ground or reconfigure existing critical modes. For example, Siobhan Senier argues that disability among indigenous peoples "cannot be thought apart from tribal sovereignty and land claims.” In another essay, Cameron Awkward-Rich conducts a close reading of the terms disability and transgender, bringing into focus the “uneven” relationship between them and their associated disciplines. The rest of the 30 essays are arranged by genre (novels and short stories, poetry, drama, life writing). Standouts include Rebecca Sanchez's "Deafness and Modernism" and Samuel Yates's "Disability and the American Stage Musical" (these titles evince the companion's wide-sweeping scope). Whether used as a textbook, secondary resource, or general reading, this vital companion offers myriad entry points into a dynamic, evolving field of study.

J. D. Harding, Saint Leo University, USA. Choice: Highly Recommended.


"This anthology offers an introduction to the developing canon of disability literature (we are introduced to many works in the genres of fiction, poetry, drama, life writing, and graphic narratives) and a diversity of literary criticism (scholars in this collection employ critical disability studies, trans studies, gothic studies, modernism, feminism, afro-modernism, gender, race, nationality, class, ethnicity—the critical approaches are varied and demonstrate, in my opinion, how intersectional and interdisciplinary conversations of disability literature can be). Scholars reading this anthology are given an excellent overview of current conversations in the field and invitations to join in research and discussion... The Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability is an engaging companion to excellent works in disability literature, and I hope it sparks many new conversations and insights."

Liz Whiteacre, The University of Indianapolis, USA, Wordgathering