Concerto for the Left Hand is at the cutting edge of the expanding field of disability studies, offering a wide range of essays that investigate the impact of disability across various art forms—including literature, performance, photography, and film. Rather than simply focusing on the ways in which disabled persons are portrayed, Michael Davidson explores how the experience of disability shapes the work of artists and why disability serves as a vital lens through which to interpret modern culture. Covering an eclectic range of topics—from the phantom missing limb in film noir to the poetry of American Sign Language—this collection delivers a unique and engaging assessment of the interplay between disability and aesthetics.
Written in a fluid, accessible style, Concerto for the Left Hand will appeal to both specialists and general audiences. With its interdisciplinary approach, this book should appeal not only to scholars of disability studies but to all those working in minority art, deaf studies, visual culture, and modernism.
"Professor Davidson—an accomplished literary critic—offers a focused and balanced analysis of poetry, film, and the arts honed with his excellent knowledge of the latest advances in disability studies. He is brilliant at reading texts in a sophisticated and aesthetically pleasurable way, making Concerto for the Left Hand one of the smartest books to date in disability studies."
—Lennard Davis, University of Illinois, Chicago
"Moving elegantly among social theorists and cultural texts, Davidson exemplifies and propels an ethical-aesthetic model for criticism. Davidson asks continuously and with a committed intensity 'where a disability ends and the social order begins' . . . this book brings the study of poetry and poetics into the twenty-first century."
—Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Temple University
Illustration: Paul Wittgenstein photographed by Madame d'Ora (Dora Philippine Kallmus, 1881-1963) in Vienna, about 1918. © Wittgenstein Archive, Cambridge