Crossing the Divide: Representations of Deafness in by Rachel M. Hartig

By Rachel M. Hartig

This notable quantity examines the method during which 3 deaf, French biographers from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries tried to go the cultural divide among deaf and listening to worlds via their paintings. The very various technique taken via every one author sheds mild on picking at what element an individual’s assimilation into society endanger his or her feel of private identity.Author Hartig starts off via assessing the courses of Jean-Ferdinand Berthier (1803-1886). Berthier wrote approximately Auguste B?bian, Abb? de l’Ep?e, and Abb? Sicard, all of whom taught on the nationwide Institute for the Deaf in Paris. even supposing Berthier provided compelling photos in their complete lives, he paid exact cognizance to their political and social activism, his major interest.Yvonne Pitrois (1880-1937) pursued her specific curiosity within the lives of deaf-blind humans. Her biography of Helen Keller concerned with her subject’s future along with her specific dating with Anne Sullivan. Corinne Rocheleau-Rouleau (1881-1963) stated the old conditions that led French-Canadian pioneer ladies to depart France. the real price of her paintings is living in her photographs of those pioneer girls: maternal girls, warriors, non secular ladies, with an emphasis on their lives and the alternatives they made.Crossing the Divide unearths truly the eagerness those biographers shared for narrating the lives of these they considered as heroes of an rising French deaf neighborhood. All 3 used the style of biography not just as a way of exterior exploration but in addition in an effort to plumb their innermost selves and to solve ambivalence approximately their very own deafness.

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The family, consequently, had social and political weight in the region, which Berthier sometimes tried to use to his advantage. Berthier’s intelligence and desire to excel were valued early on by his teachers and colleagues. Paulmier, who had been one of young Berthier’s teachers, spoke of his enormous intelligence. He told the story of Berthier coming to talk with him as a young student and asking how he could develop his intelligence. 9 His students similarly admired him, speaking of his penchant for order, his love of learning, and his desire to inculcate the same in his students.

In this regard the deaf community mirrored hearing society, for in the early nineteenth century, the place of women was still in the home. Over time hearing people were also invited. B. Maurice, who was editor of a daily newspaper, Le temps. Maurice was the only person unable to communicate at the banquet, as he did not know sign language. In time, more hearing men were invit- Chapter 3 10/25/06 46 10:42 AM Page 46 Crossing the Divide ed. Men in the government, journalists and, once the oralist approach ended at the deaf institute in Paris, the director, the personnel and even some students from the school were asked to attend.

Images suggesting a tension between light and darkness abound in her texts. Even the titles of her works reflect this obsession: Ombres de Femmes (Shadows of Women), Une nuit rayonnante: Helen Keller (A Shining Night: Helen Keller), and Trois lumières dans la nuit: Valentin Haüy, Louis Braille, Maurice de la Sizeranne (Three lights in the Darkness . ), among others. Aware of this vulnerability, Pitrois’s mother, to help her overcome this timidity and retain the speech that she was in danger of losing, sent her out to various merchants to perform the errands of the household.

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