© 2019

Monstrosity, Disability, and the Posthuman in the Medieval and Early Modern World

  • Richard H. Godden
  • Asa Simon Mittman

Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvii
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Richard H. Godden, Asa Simon Mittman
      Pages 3-31
  3. Discourses of Bodily Difference

  4. Dis/Identifying the Other

  5. Queer Couplings

  6. Coda

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 303-303

About this book


This collection examines the intersection of the discourses of “disability” and “monstrosity” in a timely and necessary intervention in the scholarly fields of Disability Studies and Monster Studies. Analyzing Medieval and Early Modern art and literature replete with images of non-normative bodies, these essays consider the pernicious history of defining people with distinctly non-normative bodies or non-normative cognition as monsters. In many cases throughout Western history, a figure marked by what Rosemarie Garland-Thomson has termed “the extraordinary body” is labeled a “monster.” This volume explores the origins of this conflation, examines the problems and possibilities inherent in it, and casts both disability and monstrosity in light of emergent, empowering discourses of posthumanism.


Disability Studies Medieval Literature Medieval Art Posthumanism Hybridity Early Modern Literature

Editors and affiliations

  • Richard H. Godden
    • 1
  • Asa Simon Mittman
    • 2
  1. 1.Louisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.California State University, ChicoChicoUSA

About the editors

Richard H. Godden is Assistant Professor of English at Louisiana State University, USA, where he works on the representations of disability in medieval literature and culture.

Asa Simon Mittman is Professor of Art and Art History at California State University, Chico, USA, and author of several books and articles on monsters and marginality.


Bibliographic information


“These essays give new directions and voices to the interrelated topics of monstrosity, disability, and the posthuman. Ranging widely across time and genre, from Grendel through the dog-headed St. Christopher, to Montaigne and Webster, the writers both provoke and inform us on how (teratological not Plinian) monstrosity and disability from birth or accident were understood in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. A compelling selection of visual images aids in understanding this intersection.” (John Block Friedman, Professor Emeritus of English and Medieval Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA)

“This excellent collection presents essays from a variety of disciplines and deploys a range of theoretical approaches as it explores the categories in its title. The contributors also exploit the frictions among the categories, not only to define their differences but also to demonstrate how—or whether—monstrosity and disability might meaningfully intersect in formulations of the posthuman. The nuanced treatments of the topics in this volume create remarkable and often unexpected synergies that will challenge and reward its readers.” (Edward Wheatley, Professor of English, Loyola University Chicago, USA)