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Disability and Literature Book Group

Wednesday, 21 March 2012 19:43
Published in Blog

Crippled, Mute, Crazy, Normal!

What do these words mean to you?

Let's really talk about the power of language . . .

. . . in Art Access' new Disability and Literature Book Group. The goal of this book group is to investigate how and why people with disabilities have been depicted in literary texts and to consider the historical, social, and cultural impact of these depictions.

Our inaugural event will take place on Wednesday, April 25 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. with a spirited discussion of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre led by Susan Anderson, former editor of the Art Access newsletter.

Published in 1847, Jane Eyre has been heralded as an indictment of social class, a gothic masterpiece, a proto-feminist novel, and a timeless romance. But how does the novel fare when we look at it through a disability lens? For example, what does it mean that the marriage of Jane and Mr. Rochester only can take place once Mr. Rochester's "maniac" first wife is removed from the story? And how should we interpret the fact that Mr. Rochester is redeemed – and thus truly marriageable – only after he becomes "blind and a cripple"?

This event is FREE and open to the public, but is limited to 20 registered participants. We expect this program to fill up fast, so don't delay. Books are available FREE from Art Access and may be kept by the participant. Electronic versions of Jane Eyre may also be accessed FREE from the Salt Lake Public Library or the Pioneer Library.

The book group will meet at Art Access, 230 South 500 West, Suite 125. Light refreshments will be served. For more information or to register, please contact , or call 801-328-0703, option 3.

The Art Access Disability and Literature book group will read and discuss three books each year that confront disability issues. This year we will consider characters with disabilities in classic works of fiction. In future years, we will examine disability memoir, characters with disabilities in young adult and children's literature, disability poetics, local writers and disability, and disabilities issues in contemporary fiction. Stay tuned!


This program has received funding from the Utah Humanities Council. "The Utah Humanities Council (UHC) enriches our cultural, intellectual, and civic life by providing opportunities for all Utahns to explore life's most engaging questions and the wonders of the human experience."

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Our 300 Plates Fundraiser and Exhibition takes place the third Thursday in May each year.