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Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure
Clare, Eli
Duke University Press / Softcover / 2017-02-01 / 0822362872
Disability Studies / Sexualities, Sexual Orientation
price: $31.95
240 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

In Brilliant Imperfection Eli Clare uses memoir, history, and critical analysis to explore cure—the deeply held belief that body-minds considered broken need to be fixed. Cure serves many purposes. It saves lives, manipulates lives, and prioritizes some lives over others. It provides comfort, makes profits, justifies violence, and promises resolution to body-mind loss. Clare grapples with this knot of contradictions, maintaining that neither an anti-cure politics nor a pro-cure worldview can account for the messy, complex relationships we have with our body-minds. The stories he tells range widely, stretching from disability stereotypes to weight loss surgery, gender transition to skin lightening creams. At each turn, Clare weaves race, disability, sexuality, class, and gender together, insisting on the nonnegotiable value of body-mind difference. Into this mix, he adds environmental politics, thinking about ecosystem loss and restoration as a way of delving more deeply into cure. Ultimately Brilliant Imperfection reveals cure to be an ideology grounded in the twin notions of normal and natural, slippery and powerful, necessary and damaging all at the same time.


"Vermont has many national treasures living quietly among us, and one of them is Addison County resident Eli Clare. His latest book, Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure, is revelatory, a clarion call for changing the medicalized disability narrative of defective brokenness." — John Killacky, Vermont Public Radio


Acknowledgments xi
Introduction: Writing a Mosaic xv
A Note on Reading This Book: Thinking about Trigger Warnings xix
Brilliant Imperfection: White Pines 1
1. Ideology of Cure 7
Brilliant Imperfection: Twitches and Tremors 19
2. Violence of Cure 21
Brilliant Imperfection: Maples 33
3. In Tandem with Cure 37
Brlliant Imperfection: Stone 49
4. Nuances of Cure 51
Brilliant Imperfection: Shells 65
5. Structure of Cure 67
Brilliant Imperfection: Hermit Crabs 81
6. How Cure Works 83
Brilliant Imperfection: Rolling 99
7. At the Center of Cure 101
Brilliant Imperfection: Myrtle 125
8. Moving Through Cure 127
Brilliant Imperfection: Drag Queen 147
9. Impacts fo Cure 149
Brilliant Imperfection: Survival Notes 169
10. Promise of Cure 171
Brilliant Imperfection: Cycling 189
Notes 191
Bibliography 201
Index 209

About the Author:

Eli Clare is a poet, essayist, activist, and the author of Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation, also published by Duke University Press, and The Marrow's Telling: Words in Motion. He speaks regularly at conferences, community events, and colleges across the United States and Canada about disability, queer and trans identities, and social justice, and his writing has appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies. Clare lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and can be found online at

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