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Sight Correction

Vision and Blindness in Eighteenth-Century Britain
Chris Mounsey

BUY Cloth · 340 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813943312 · $79.50 · Nov 2019
BUY Ebook · 340 pp. · ISBN 9780813943336 · $79.50 · Nov 2019
BUY Paper · 340 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813943329 · $39.50 · Nov 2019

The debut publication in a new series devoted to the body as an object of historical study,  Sight Correction provides an expansive analysis of blindness in eighteenth-century Britain, developing a new methodology for conceptualizing sight impairment. Beginning with a reconsideration of the place of sight correction as both idea and reality in eighteenth-century philosophical debates, Chris Mounsey traces the development of eye surgery by pioneers such as William Read, Mary Cater, and John Taylor, who developed a new idea of medical specialism that has shaped contemporary practices. He then turns to accounts by the visually impaired themselves, exploring how Thomas Gills, John Maxwell, and Priscilla Pointon deployed literature strategically as a necessary response to the inadequacies of Poor Laws to support blind people. Situating blindness philosophically, medically, and economically in the eighteenth century, Sight Correction shows how the lives of both the blind and those who sought to treat them redefined blindness in ways that continue to inform our understanding today.


"Mounsey rejects binary categories such as ‘disabled’ and ‘able-bodied,’ as well as the prevailing medical and cultural models, and provides a meaningful framework to talk about the life experiences of impaired individuals living in the eighteenth century and, I would argue, in earlier periods as well."

Madeline Sutherland-Meier, University of Texas at Austin, author of Mass Culture in the Age of Enlightenment: The Blindman’s Ballads of Eighteenth-Century Spain

An important book boasting extraordinary archival material and meticulous scholarship.

Miriam Wallace, New College of Florida, author of Enlightening Romanticism, Romancing Enlightenment: British Fiction 1750-1830

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