Disability in the World of Cicero

Auteur: West, Kyle W.
Titre: Disability in the World of Cicero
Éditeur: University of Pennsylvania ProQuest Dissertations Publishing
Annèe edition: 2023
Pages: 276
Mots-clès: Philosophie - Filosofia - Philosophy, Stylistique et genres littéraires - Stilistica e generi letterari - Stylistics and literary genre
Description: Prior to this dissertation, scholars had been hesitant to apply disability as a lens for historical and literary analysis to the ancient world. A model of disability which minimized the body as well as individual agency in favor of heavy emphasis on social construction had left disability difficult to discern in the absence of modern social structures. By applying a multi-factorial “biopsychosocial” model of disability to the writings of Cicero, this problem is circumvented. It is found that, as reflected in Latin terminology, Cicero and his contemporaries did not operate with a clearly theorized “disabled/non-disabled” binary in mind. However, they were very concerned with the frailty of human bodies, which, whether actual (impairment) or potential (vulnerability) could have significant psychological and social consequences. In rhetoric, disability could be used as a means to alienate political and personal enemies from the community, or to throw greater glory on the achievements of those Cicero already admired. In philosophy, disability represented a significant threat to the good life, which had to be met with virtue. Finally, in letters, Cicero makes use of disability as a metaphor to help him process heightened negative emotions. He has to tread carefully, however, as to appear too disabled by grief to his peers would violate social expectations of fortitude. The argument therefore confirms disability as a useful theoretical tool for ancient historical and literary analysis [James Ker, Supervisor of Dissertation - Dissertation presented to the Faculties of the University of Pennsylvania]. Summary and introduction  
Sigle auteur: West 2023