In Disabled Bodies in Early Modern Spanish Literature: Prostitutes, Aging Women and Saints, Encarnación Juárez-Almendros, Professor of Early Modern Spanish Literature and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, examines portrayals of women in Spanish texts from the late fifteenth to seventeenth centuries through the lens of feminist theories of disability. Starting from a diverse range of Spanish medical and moral texts, which Juárez-Almendros argues perpetuate long-entrenched Western concepts of female embodiment, Disabled Bodies then focuses on specific “deviant” female characters in literature—often represented as diseased or aged—drawing from texts such as Celestina, Lozana andaluza, and works by Cervantes and Quevedo; Juárez-Almendros ends with the personal testimony of Teresa de Avila, a nun with neurological disorders. Why, in a time when Spain exercised its greatest imperial power, were women in Spanish literature frequently characterized as disabled? Juárez-Almendros “sets out to challenge the foundations of early modern scholarship through a long-awaited critical feminist examination of disability as both a social construction and an embodied material experience.”
Available from Liverpool University Press.