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The Story of My Life (1903)

by Helen Keller

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5,153572,095 (3.89)64
Biography & Autobiography. Nonfiction. HTML:

Helen Keller's autobiography, The Story of My Life, tells of her early life and of her experiences with Annie Sullivan, her teacher and companion. It was first published in 1903. Keller was the first deaf-blind person to attain a Bachelor of Arts degree, became well traveled and a prolific author, and was outspoken in her campaigning against war and for many other progressive causes. This story shows how Annie Sullivan helped Keller break through her isolation and absence of language to blossom and learn to live in the world of people.

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English (53)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
When a toddler, Helen Keller was stricken with a devastating illness which left her both deaf and blind. With no means of communicating her desires, needs or emotions with her family members, her next few years were tumultuous for all. Anne Sullivan, a teacher, arrived at their home when Keller was six years old and was successful over time in breaking through Keller's veil of darkness and silence, beginning by teaching her the names of objects in her environment by spelling words into her hand. Keller ultimately learned to read braille, to write and type using a braille typewriter, and even to speak aloud with intensive coaching. She also became a student of history, mathematics, and multiple languages, and graduated from college. This is the first of her autobiographies, written at age twenty.

In my youth I had read an abridged-for-children version of this autobiography, and that, combined with cultural knowledge absorbed, made her story already feel pretty familiar. As the book is overall relatively brief, the addition of correspondence was interesting, particularly Keller's earliest efforts, but I grew somewhat bored with her letters after a while. When I try to imagine how one could successfully learn abstract concepts without the benefit of sight or hearing it kind of blows my mind. Keller was clearly possessed of great intelligence and a brain starved for learning during her years of darkness. As someone with full use of all my senses I have difficulty imagining the rigor of her studies, not to mention the selfless dedication of Sullivan whose constant presence, and who had to spell every single word of every conversation and in every textbook out for Keller using the hand alphabet, made Keller's achievements possible. I find it impossible that Sullivan didn't experience burnout, but her own feelings about her 50-year commitment are rarely spoken of. ( )
  ryner | Apr 24, 2024 |
This is Helen Keller’s autobiography (for about the first half). Then, it includes some of the letters Helen wrote to various people. Helen, of course, was both blind and deaf in the late 19th century as a child when she and a teacher had a breakthrough as her teacher, Annie Sullivan, was trying to teach her to communicate. Helen grew up to become very educated and published more than one book.

I listened to the audio, and it was ok, but I did lose focus more than I would have liked. It turns out Helen loved books and reading, which was interesting. It was kind of repetitive between the biography portion, then much of what was in the letters had already also been mentioned in the autobiography. Helen Keller was a pretty impressive woman. ( )
  LibraryCin | Apr 14, 2024 |
A fabulous and candid story of Helen Keller’s education. There are times I forgot her disabilities. Such wonderful insight to an amazing woman. ( )
  caseybp | Dec 18, 2023 |
I can see how it would make a good young adult biography. ( )
  emmby | Oct 4, 2023 |
If I had read Helen Keller's The Story of My Life without this version's supplementary accounts by her teacher Anne Sullivan, her editor John Macy, and the introduction and afterward by Roger Shattuck, I'd have been very skeptical of it because the eloquence of the writing. How could she have had such a strong connection to the world of language, as isolated as (I thought) she was? The additional material about her life experiences, her education, the unique methods used by her teachers, and her own lifelong devotion to reading and letter writing erased any trace of skepticism I had. ( )
  wandaly | Jun 13, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (57 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Keller, Helenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barton Perry, RalphIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berger, JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Epstein, JosephContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibson, FloNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herrmann, DorothyContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Macy, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Macy, John AlbertEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perry, Ralph BartonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pollak-Ottendorff, EleonoreContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roosevelt, EleanorForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Russell, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shattuck, RogerContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sullivan, Anne Mansfieldsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, CandaceEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woods, MaryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To
ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL

Who has taught the deaf to speak
and enabled the listening ear to
hear speech from the Atlantic to the Rockies,

I DEDICATE
This Story of My Life.
First words
It is with a kind of fear that I begin to write the history of my life.
Quotations
The thought that my dear Heavenly Father is always near, giving me abundantly of all those things, which truly enrich life and make it sweet and beautiful, makes every deprivation seem of little moment compared with the countless blessings I enjoy.
Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten - a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!
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ISBN: 0486292495 9780486292496
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Biography & Autobiography. Nonfiction. HTML:

Helen Keller's autobiography, The Story of My Life, tells of her early life and of her experiences with Annie Sullivan, her teacher and companion. It was first published in 1903. Keller was the first deaf-blind person to attain a Bachelor of Arts degree, became well traveled and a prolific author, and was outspoken in her campaigning against war and for many other progressive causes. This story shows how Annie Sullivan helped Keller break through her isolation and absence of language to blossom and learn to live in the world of people.

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Book description
This is Helen Keller's account of her triumph over deafness and blindness.
This story has become a symbol of hope for people all over the world. This book - published when Helen Keller was 22 - portrays the wild child who is locked in the dark and silent prison of her own body. 

With an extraordinary sense of immediacy, Keller reveals her frustrations and rage, and takes the reader on the unforgettable journey of her education and breakthroughs into the world of communication. We see Keller as she finally realizes that her teacher's finger-spelled letters mean "water."  Suddenly, "that living word awakened my soul. gave it light, hope, joy, set it free!"
An unparalleled chronicle of courage, The Story of My Life
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