Cripping the Renaissance: Lamentation, Consolation, and Disability in Cervantes and Milton: a talk by Elizabeth B. Bearden

Lecture | November 16 | 6-8 p.m. | 300 Wheeler Hall

 Elizabeth B. Bearden, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

 Department of English, Townsend Center for the Humanities, Program in Disability Studies

"In this talk, I focus on works by two disabled authors of the early modern period: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and John Milton. I propose that these authors draw on the art of consolation—particularly Petrarch’s De Remediis and the Psalms—to depict the lows and highs of their lived experience of disability. Furthermore, they employ transgressive reappropriation when responding to ablist invective.I call this early modern mode of disability writing crip authority. Questions that this talk will raise include the following. How do authors of the Renaissance relate their experiences of disability? Have they provided a sense of disability community to later disabled writers and readers? Can their manner of addressing disability contribute to our estimation of disability gain now? Does recovering the work of these canonical authors as disability literature help us to crip the Renaissance?"

Sponsored by the Program in Disability Studies, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, and the Department of English.

This lecture is free and open to the public. Wheelchair accessible. If you need any other disability accommodations in order to attend, including communication services, please contact David Landreth (

Accessible entrance: enter Wheeler Hall through the front ramp entrance on the south side (at the left of the building as you face its wide stairs). Head down the hall, through the building, toward the north side, till the hall dead ends. Turn left. The elevator will be on your right.