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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Forthcoming Book: Blindness and Therapy in Late Medieval French and Italian Poetry By Julie Singer, Ph.D.


This book argues that late medieval love poets, from Petrarch to Machaut and Charles d'Orléans, exploit scientific models as a broad framework within which to redefine the limits of the lyric subject and his body. Just as humoral theory depends upon principles of likes and contraries in order to heal, poetry makes possible a parallel therapeutic system in which verbal oppositions and substitutions counter or rewrite received medical wisdom. The specific case of blindness, a disability that according to the theories of love that predominated in the late medieval West foreclosed the possibility of love, serves as a laboratory in which to explore poets' circumvention of the logical limits of contemporary medical theory. Reclaiming the power of remedy from physicians, these late medieval French and Italian poets prompt us to rethink not only the relationship between scientific and literary authority at the close of the middle ages, but, more broadly speaking, the very notion of therapy.

Julie Singer is Assistant Professor of French at Washington University, St Louis  Her website:


First Published: 15 Sep 2011
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843842729
Pages: 250
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: D.S.Brewer
Series: Gallica
Subject: French Studies
BIC Class: DSB
Details updated on 08 May 2011


  • 1  Introduction: On Rhetoric and Remedy
  • 2  The Love-Imprint
  • 3  Medical Blindness, Rhetorical Insight
  • 4  Irony, or the Therapeutics of Contraries
  • 5  Metaphor as Experimental Medicine
  • 6  Metonymy and Prosthesis
  • 7  Blindfold Synecdoche
  • 8  Epilogue. Just Words
  • 9  Bibliography

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