Nineteenth-Century Disability:  Cultures & Contexts

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  • Tags: Orthopaedic Disability

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A Noble Life (1866) is Dinah Mulock Craik’s second novel to feature a disabled protagonist. It resembles her earlier novel, Olive (1850) in representing disability as a spiritually uplifting and morally improving experience, which renders the…

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As theories of degeneracy[1] gained currency in the latter part of the nineteenth century, literary critics increasingly used rhetoric of pathology (that is, of health and sickness) to discuss authors and their works.[2] As Arata explains, critics…

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Orthopaedic medicine began as a general practice of child rearing in France with Nicolas Andry’s Orthopaedia (1741).  (Andry’s work was translated into English in 1743.)  In the mid-nineteenth century, orthopaedic medicine became a specialized…

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One of the most well known nineteenth-century fictional representations of disability is that of Quasimodo, the deaf and disabled bell-ringer in Victor Hugo’s 1831 historical novel, Notre-Dame de Paris. The novel quickly became immensely popular,…

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Journalist Henry Mayhew (1812-1887) began publishing his vast collection of interviews and observations on London street life in the mid-century, in the newspaper the Morning Chronicle in 1849. When the newspaper collapsed in 1850, Mayhew continued…

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Dinah Mulock Craik’s (1826-1887) novel Olive (1850), features a heroine who has a shoulder deformity but who goes on to establish a career as an artist and to win the love of a Scottish minister whom she rescues from religious doubt. Olive was one…
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