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Biology and MannersEssays on the Worlds and Works of Lois McMaster Bujold$
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Regina Yung Lee and Una McCormack

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621730

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621730.001.0001

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date: 04 August 2021

Pain Made Holy

Pain Made Holy

Narratives of Disability and Pain in The Curse of Chalion

(p.131) Pain Made Holy
Biology and Manners

Joanne Woiak


Through an examination of the experiences of Castillar Lupe dy Cazaril, protagonist of Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Curse of Chalion, this chapter argues that the novel mirrors academic and advocacy agendas on the topics of passing, sexuality, and care, while ultimately relating to emerging perspectives from queer disability studies critiques of normalcy. The chapter engages with The Curse of Chalion as a text that illustrates and contributes to theoretical and activist work on disability in relation to vulnerability and cure, through the multiple meanings of Cazaril’s ‘holy pain’. The chapter shows how, in its overarching concern with embodiment through Cazaril’s physical suffering, fatigue, chronic illness, and rehabilitation, Bujold’s speculative narrative aligns with recent disability studies and disability justice frameworks that hold space for multiple, nuanced perspectives on these issues, inviting examination of the connections between the bodily and social dimensions of disability.

Keywords:   Lois McMaster Bujold, The Curse of Chalion, Disability studies, Fantasy, Chronic illness, Pain, Embodiment

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