Professor Rodas’ new book, Autistic Disturbances

  English Department   •

Autistic Disturbances Book CoverThe language of autism has been “pathologized and devalued,” according to Julia Miele Rodas, professor of English. Her new book, Autistic Disturbances: Theorizing Autism Poetics from the DSM to Robinson Crusoe (University of Michigan Press, 2018) looks at the ways interpreters have failed to register the creative valence of autistic language and presents a theoretical framework for understanding the distinctive aesthetics of autistic rhetoric and semiotics. Reinterpreting characteristic autistic verbal practices, like repetition, in the context of a more widely respected literary canon, it argues that autistic language is an essential part of mainstream literary aesthetics, visible in poetry by Walt Whitman and Gertrude Stein, in novels by Charlotte Brontë and Daniel Defoe, in life writing by Andy Warhol, even in contemporary cultural texts like Martha Stewart Living and Andy Kaufman’s performance art.

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