Blindness and Therapy in Late Medieval French and Italian Poetry

Blindness and Therapy in Late Medieval French and Italian Poetry

Julie Singer

Hardback
$99.00

D.S.Brewer

Overview

Overview

An examination of the ways in which late medieval lyric poetry can be seen to engage with contemporary medical theory.
This book argues that late medieval love poets, from Petrarch to Machaut and Charles d'Orléans, exploit scientific models as a broad framework within which to redefine the limits of the lyric subject and his body. Just as humoral theory depends upon principles of likes and contraries in order to heal, poetry makes possible a parallel therapeutic system in which verbal oppositions and substitutions counter or rewrite received medical wisdom. The specific case of blindness, a disability that according to the theories of love that predominated in the late medieval West foreclosed the possibility of love, serves as a laboratory in which to explore poets' circumvention of the logical limits of contemporary medical theory. Reclaiming the power of remedy from physicians, these late medieval French and Italian poets prompt us to rethink not only the relationship between scientific and literary authority at the close of the middle ages, but, more broadly speaking, the very notion of therapy.

Julie Singer is Assistant Professor of French at Washington University, St Louis.

Details

September 2011
3 black and white illustrations
250 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Gallica
ISBN: 9781843842729
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
D.S.Brewer
BIC DSBB, 1DDF, 2AB, 3H
BISAC LIT011000, LIT014000
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Table of Contents

Introduction: On Rhetoric and Remedy
The Love-Imprint
Medical Blindness, Rhetorical Insight
Irony, or the Therapeutics of Contraries
Metaphor as Experimental Medicine
Metonymy and Prosthesis
Blindfold Synecdoche
Epilogue. Just Words
Bibliography

Reviews

An ambitious volume, meticulously researched and bringing together a wealth of material. MEDIUM AEVUM

Singer's study is an admirable blend of philology, cultural history, and disability studies. It is well researched and has the unusual merit of giving almost equivalent space to both Italian and French texts and criticism. SPECULUM

(M)eticulously researched and bringing together a wealth of material. MEDIUM AEVUM

Also in Series