Conclusion: Early Modern Fantasies and Contemporary Realities
This concluding chapter discusses the effects and afterlives of dissembling disability. Although it was a fictional trend that focused on fraudulent action, the counterfeit-disability tradition instructed audiences to approach disability with suspicion, both on the stage and in the streets of London. The tradition demanded that genuinely disabled people perform their disabilities to, paradoxically, prove the reality of their impairments. Although the counterfeit-disability tradition shaped the lived experiences of early modern disabled people, it also suppressed knowledge of that experience by prioritizing narratives of counterfeit disability over genuine disability. The chapter concludes by tracing the enduring presence of the counterfeit-disability tradition on contemporary literature, culture, and, even, social policy.
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