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Accessing the medieval: Disability and distance in Anna Gurney’s search for St Edmund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-375
Number of pages19
Issue number3
Early online date1 Nov 2019
Accepted/In press29 Jun 2019
E-pub ahead of print1 Nov 2019


King's Authors


What can be achieved by putting scholarly bodies back into disembodied disciplinary histories? Pursuing a feminist historiography of medieval studies, this article seeks to understand how the scholarly practices of pioneering medievalist Anna Gurney (1795–1857) were enacted through her body, the difference of which was doubly marked within her spaces and networks as disabled and female. Considering intersections of geography and class as well as gender and disability, I trace Gurney’s search for the life of St Edmund, mapping how the spatial and temporal distances of the scholarly search are experienced differently by complex and varied scholarly bodies. I show how Gurney’s discursive, practical, and creative strategies for facilitating proximity to the medieval constitute a ‘praxis of access,’ which generates and vivifies a reciprocal relationship with the object of her knowledge.

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