What Is Visible

What Is Visible

Book - 2015
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Laura Bridgman was the first deaf and blind person to learn language-fifty years before Helen Keller. Laura also couldn't taste or smell; she lost all senses but touch from a bout with scarlet fever at age two. Not since The Diving Bell and the Butterfly has a book so illuminated the challenges of living in a completely unique inner world. WHAT IS VISIBLE moves among multiple voices, with Laura as the book's primary narrator; the founder of Perkins Institute, with whom Laura was in love; his wife, a famous writer, abolitionist and suffragist; Laura's beloved teacher, who married a missionary and died insane from syphilis; an orphaned Irish girl with whom Laura had a tumultuous affair; and even the young Helen Keller. At the center of it all is the breathtaking experiment that Laura Bridgman embodied and its links to the great philosophical, theological, educational and social changes taking place between 1840 and 1890. Since Laura was considered the second most famous woman in the world in the nineteenth century (second only to Queen Victoria), it is astonishing that she has been virtually erased from history. WHAT IS VISIBLE will set the record straight.
Publisher: New York : 2015. Twelve,
ISBN: 9781455528950
Branch Call Number: AF ELKI


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Jun 25, 2018

Book Club Selection

ontherideau Apr 20, 2015

Laura's imagined romantic life detracted from the interest in this story.
Suitable for teens and book groups.

ChristchurchLib Jul 24, 2014

After a bout of scarlet fever deprives two-year-old Laura Bridgman of four of her five senses, she finds an unlikely advocate in Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, founder of the Perkins Institute. Under Dr. Howe's tutelage, Laura learns to communicate with her hands, becoming a celebrity in the process. But communication is not the same as connection. Despite her fame - even Charles Dickens writes an essay about her - Laura struggles with loneliness and feelings of abandonment as important people in her life come and go, many using her to further their own agendas. Although the real-life Laura Bridgman was born decades before the more famous Helen Keller, fans of the latter's memoir, The Story of My Life, will want to read this moving novel about a woman who succeeded on her own terms and challenged conventional beliefs concerning what was possible for individuals with disabilities.
Historical Fiction July 2014 Newsletter.

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