Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature

 Image description: Book cover for Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature by Rosemarie Garland Thomson. Under the title is a self portrait by artist Frida Kahlo in a wheelchair, wearing a smock and long skirt and holding paint brushes and a palette. Next to her is an easel with a portrait of Dr. Farill.

Author: Rosemarie Garland Thomson

Publisher: Columbia University Press

List price: $30 (paperback)

SummaryExtraordinary Bodies is a cornerstone text of disability studies, establishing the field upon its publication in 1997. Framing disability as a minority discourse rather than a medical one, the book added depth to oppressive narratives and revealed novel, liberatory ones. Through her incisive readings of such texts as Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and Rebecca Harding Davis's Life in the Iron Mills, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson exposed the social forces driving representations of disability. She encouraged new ways of looking at texts and their depiction of the body and stretched the limits of what counted as a text, considering freak shows and other pop culture artifacts as reflections of community rites and fears.