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The Imprisoned Guest: Samuel Howe and Laura…

The Imprisoned Guest: Samuel Howe and Laura Bridgman, The Original… (edition 2002)

by Elisabeth Gitter

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251428,870 (3.5)1 / 13
Title:The Imprisoned Guest: Samuel Howe and Laura Bridgman, The Original Deaf-Blind Girl
Authors:Elisabeth Gitter
Info:Picador (2002), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Laura Bridgeman, 1800s, Dr Samuel Howe, language, blindness, deaf, teaching, Perkins school, Boston

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The Imprisoned Guest: Samuel Howe and Laura Bridgman, The Original Deaf-Blind Girl by Elisabeth Gitter



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Before Helen Keller, there was Laura Bridgeman, the first blind and deaf girl who learned not just to spell out words for objects, but to actually learn a language, to write in sentences not just in braille but to also put her thoughts down on paper with a pen. This biography of her life, how she was taught, her family and their challenges with a child who lost her sight and hearing as a result of scarlet fever, and her relationship with Dr Samuel Howe, the man who 'rescued' her and made her his lifelong project.

The biography is based on letters she wrote to friends and family,the journals she kept, and from letters written by Dr Samuel Howe and some of her teachers.

It's a fascinating insight into a remarkable woman who should not be forgotten. ( )
1 vote cameling | Jan 1, 2013 |
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Imagine Laura Bridgman, deaf, dumb, and blind.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312420293, Paperback)

In 1837, Samuel Gridley Howe, the ambitious director of Boston's Perkins Institution for the Blind, heard about Laura Bridgman, a bright deaf-blind seven-year-old, the daughter of New Hampshire farmers. He resolved to dazzle the world by rescuing her from the "darkness and silence of the tomb." And indeed, thanks to Howe and an extraordinary group of female teachers, Laura learned to finger-spell, to read raised letters, and to write legibly and even eloquently.

Philosophers, poets, educators, theologians, and early psychologists hailed Laura as a moral inspiration and a living laboratory for the most controversial ideas of the day. She quickly became a major tourist attraction, and many influential writers and reformers—Carlyle, Dickens, and Hawthorne among them—visited her or wrote about her. But as the Civil War loomed and her girlish appeal faded, the public began to lose interest. By the time Laura died in 1889, she had been wholly eclipsed by Helen Keller.

The Imprisoned Guest recovers Laura Bridgman's forgotten life, placing it in the context of nineteenth-century American social, intellectual, and cultural history. Her troubling, tumultuous relationship with Howe, who rode her achievements to his own fame but could not cope with the intense, demanding adult she became, sheds light on the contradictory attitudes of a reform era in which we can find some precursors to our own.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:07 -0400)

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