ABSTRACT

Five miracles in the collection of Henry VI of England (d. 1471) describe the restoration of a person who had lost his or her reason. This article explores and contextualizes the rhetoric with which the anonymous author of the miracles described the senseless, noting his uncertainty in imposing diagnoses of the conditions that caused his protagonists to become senseless. It argues that his unwillingness to distinguish clearly between spirit possession and humoral illness reflects the contemporary concern over the discernment of spirits and also suggests disagreements among people with disabilities, their caregivers and communities, learned physicians, and theologians.

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