While the lived reality of disability in the Middle Ages was surely a wretched one, at the same time we encounter persistent associations between disabled and royal or aristocratic bodies in medieval culture, its imagery and narratives. Nowhere is this truer than in the Arthurian world, at whose core there lies a powerful but immobile figure, the Rich Fisher King. This talk looks at such linkage through Arthurian texts and illustrated manuscripts, especially the vast Lancelot Prose Cycle.
Christopher Baswell is the Acting Chair of the Department of English and the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of English at Barnard College. He is also Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
Cosponsored by the IHC’s Disability Studies Initiative Research Focus Group and the UCSB English Department Early Modern Center