Houghton-Medieval Studies Lecture in Early Book History: "Arthurian Immobilities: Disabled Kings and Nobles in the Lancelot Prose Cycle"
Houghton Library and the Standing Committee on Medieval Studies present Christopher Baswell on "Arthurian Immobilities: Disabled Kings and Nobles in the Lancelot Prose Cycle."
While the lived reality of disability in the Middle Ages was surely a wretched one, at the same time we encounter persistent associations between disabled and royal or aristocratic bodies in medieval culture, its imagery, and narratives. Nowhere is this truer than in the Arthurian world, at whose core there lies a powerful but immobile figure, the Rich Fisher King. In this talk, Christopher Baswell will discuss this linkage through Arthurian texts and illustrated manuscripts, especially the vast Lancelot Prose Cycle. The Rich Fisher King, largely absent in this text, is nonetheless shadowed by a complex penumbra of disabled knights and kings.
Christopher Baswell is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of English at Barnard College and Columbia University. His research interests include medieval literature and manuscript studies, classical tradition, and disability studies.
Reception to follow. Registration is encouraged but not required.
Image: Lancelot enchanted, asleep on a litter. New Haven, Beinecke 229, fo 40v.
Join Christopher Baswell for a hands-on workshop, "The Medieval Manuscript in Time," which will be offered twice on Thursday, October 19 at Houghton. Follow the links for more information and to register for the morning session or the afternoon session.
Persons with disabilities who would like to request accommodations or have questions about physical access are encouraged to contact Houghton Library in advance of these events.