Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Sighted Renderings of a Non-Visual Aesthetics: Exploring the Interface between Drama and Disability Theory

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2009), 3, (1), 85–99.

Abstract

It is often contended that physical anomaly is received more positively within the art world than in society, from which it follows that the social reception of disability might be enhanced by the application of certain aestheticizing measures. Focusing on the reception of blindness, the essay suggests that imaginative affirmations of the condition, when conducted according to visual criteria, serve frequently to isolate blind people from their natural resources of aesthetic receptivity. Instancing a variety of literary sources, but concentrating on portrayals of blindness by Irish playwrights, the essay examines some of the issues that problematize the process of marshalling components of an aesthetic approach to blindness for social application, raising questions regarding the constitution of genuinely affirmative imaginative renderings of disability.

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Feeney, David