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Smouldering village beliefs: gender, disability, and the persistence of metaphor in critical interpretation and adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Withered Arm’

Prout, Ryan ORCID: 2022. Smouldering village beliefs: gender, disability, and the persistence of metaphor in critical interpretation and adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Withered Arm’. Checa, Julio, ed. Representación de la diversidad funcional desde la perspectiva de género en las artes escénicas, audiovisuales, virtuales, y en la literatura, Vol. 5. Images of Disability. Literature, Scenic, Visual, and Virtual Arts / Imágenes de la diversidad funcional. Literatura, artes escénicas, visuales y virtuales, Bern: Peter Lang, pp. 223-243.

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This chapter examines ‘The Withered Arm’ as a text that activates the interface of gender and disability studies in the cultural critique of scholars such as Rosemarie Garland Thomson. It argues that ‘The Withered Arm’ articulates not only the contrast of differing knowledge paradigms but also the intersections where women and people with illness and disability are marginalised and oppressed in ways that sometimes converge and in other ways that demonstrate the insufficiency of either gender studies or disabilities studies alone to account for how and why the exclusion of those with non-normative bodies comes about. The first section of the chapter looks at a cross-section of literary criticism of ‘The Withered Arm’ spanning more than a century in order to uncover the continuities in critical responses to a literary text that engages with a non-normative body and a functionally diverse person. The second part of the chapter questions how gender and disability are represented in Hardy’s story. It develops by reading adaptations of the story for television and for radio and suggests that a dialogue between the adaptations and the text can open up a new approach to the story that brings into the foreground the reciprocity of gender and of disability in casting as deviant the female and functionally non-normative body.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GR Folklore
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PE English
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Thomas Hardy, Gender, Disability, Adaptation, ‘The Withered Arm’, Ellipsis
Language other than English: Spanish
Publisher: Peter Lang
ISBN: 9783631876893
Related URLs:
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 December 2022
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2022 11:33

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