Elizabeth Bearden "Descending the Mountain: Disability and the Art of Consolation in the Renaissance"

Apr 24, 2023, 5:00 pm7:00 pm
127 East Pyne


Event Description


Professor Elizabeth B. Bearden, Fellow, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ.

Professor Bearden is a scholar and teacher of early modern literature and disability studies with training in Comparative Literature, Classics, the History of Rhetoric, and Visual Culture Studies. Other of her talents include being blind, working with a guide dog, and being a power-user of adaptive technology. She is also a Princeton Tiger—Comparative Literature ’98. From Princeton, she took a train to New York, where she got her PH. D. in Comp Lit at NYU. Since then, she has worked at the University of Maryland, UW-Madison, and has very much enjoyed her return to Princeton at the IAS this year. Her first monograph, The Emblematics of the Self: Ekphrasis and Identity in Renaissance Imitations of Greek Romance,  was published by U of Toronto P in 2012. Her second monograph, Monstrous Kinds: Body, Space, and Narrative in Renaissance Representations of Disability,  was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2019 and won the Tobin Siebers Prize for Disability Studies in the Humanities. She has published articles in PMLA (twice), The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Ancient Narrative Supplementum, Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, and E-Humanities/Cervantes. She directed a Digital Humanities project on Philip Sidney’s funeral, which appeared in a Folger Shakespeare Library exhibition in Washington, DC. She has been invited to speak at national and international conferences and has received grants from NYU, the University of Maryland, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where she is in residence this academic year.


This talk comes from my third monograph, “Crip Authority: Disability and the Art of Consolation in the Renaissance,”  which is under contract with U of Michigan P. this project brings to light premodern disability narratives, or first-person narrative accounts of the lived experience of disability. It considers how early modern writers with disabilities draw on the ancient genre of consolation—texts that articulate advantages in adversities including mental and physical disability—to enhance their writerly authority.

The Department of Comparative Literature and The Department of English