'Known and Feeling Sorrows': Disabled Knowledge and King Lear

  • Lindsey Row-Heyveld Luther College


This essay argues that King Lear presents a version of disability determined not by bodily authenticity but by bodily knowledge. By staging multiple forms and experiences of disability, the play defies the drive to authenticate and control non-standard bodies that flourished in early modern England. King Lear’s insistence on embodied knowledge both recognizes the unique perspective afforded to disability and resists disability exceptionalism through its attention to populations made vulnerable to impairment. King Lear specifically dramatizes the way disabled knowledge extended to precarious populations by granting Edgar disabled knowledge even though his disability is fraudulent.

Author Biography

Lindsey Row-Heyveld, Luther College

Lindsey Row-Heyveld (lrh@luther.edu) is an associate professor in Luther College’s English department.

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