Extraordinary Bodies

Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature, Twentieth Anniversary Edition

Rosemarie Garland Thomson

Columbia University Press

Extraordinary Bodies

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Pub Date: March 2017

ISBN: 9780231183178

224 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£24.95

Pub Date: March 2017

ISBN: 9780231183161

224 Pages

Format: Hardcover

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Pub Date: March 2017

ISBN: 9780231544771

224 Pages

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Extraordinary Bodies

Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature, Twentieth Anniversary Edition

Rosemarie Garland Thomson

Columbia University Press

Extraordinary Bodies is a cornerstone text of disability studies, establishing the field upon its publication in 1997. Framing disability as a minority discourse rather than a medical one, the book added depth to oppressive narratives and revealed novel, liberatory ones. Through her incisive readings of such texts as Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and Rebecca Harding Davis's Life in the Iron Mills, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson exposed the social forces driving representations of disability. She encouraged new ways of looking at texts and their depiction of the body and stretched the limits of what counted as a text, considering freak shows and other pop culture artifacts as reflections of community rites and fears. Garland-Thomson also elevated the status of African-American novels by Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde. Extraordinary Bodies laid the groundwork for an appreciation of disability culture and an inclusive new approach to the study of social marginalization.
Extraordinary Bodies addresses a subject of great significance and topicality with originality and sophistication; it is, or should become, a seminal work in the emerging field of disability studies. G. Thomas Couser, MELUS
[Thomson] digs deep and offers profound insights into the interrelationships among the theories, practices, and dominant ideologies of a particular historical period as they have had an impact on the position of disabled people. Simi Linton, SIGNS: JOURNAL OF WOMEN IN CULTURE & SOCIETY
Fascinating and theoretically rich... Extraordinary Bodies will... be viewed as one of [disability studies'] foundational texts. Anthony Hutchison, Journal of American Studies
With this important work, Thomson not only redefines disability studies, but also makes a contribution to feminist, poststructuralist, and race theory and provides fresh rereadings of both canonical and non-canonical literary texts. Joyce Huff, COLLEGE LITERATURE
[A]n adventurous, sensible, passionate book that invites readers to rethink the ground-breaking work of theorists who have shaped academic discourse on marginality and the female body. Catherine J. Kudlick, Journal of Social History
Preface to the Twentieth Anniversary Edition
Preface and Acknowledgments
I. Politicizing Bodily Differences
1. Disability, Identity, and Representation: An Introduction
2. Theorizing Disability
II. Constructing Disabled Figures: Cultural and Literary Sites
3. The Cultural Work of American Freak Shows, 1835-1940
4. Benevolent Maternalism and the Disabled Women in Stowe, Davis, and Phelps
5. Disabled Women as Powerful Women in Petry, Morrison, and Lorde
Conclusion: From Pathology to Identity
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is professor of English at Emory University and the author of Staring: How We Look (2009) and the editor of Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body (1996).