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8:9 Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Cultural Watershed

19th and 20th Century Biographers
Bridge Deaf and Hearing Worlds

“Diversity has been a popular concept in Europe and America for several decades now,” states Rachel M. Hartig, author of Crossing the Divide: Representations of Deafness in Biography. “Most of us recognize the profound value that each culture within our larger culture brings to us: beyond the gifts of linguistic variety, there are important challenges to our thinking about literature, politics, and ethics. But at what point does an individual’s assimilation into society endanger his sense of personal identity?”

The French biographers of this work, Jean-Ferdinand Berthier (1803–1886), Yvonne Pitrois, and the Franco-American biographer Corinne Rocheleau (1881–1963), offer interesting individual responses to this dilemma. Although each shared a passion for narrating lives, they differed in the manner in which they crossed the cultural divide between the deaf and hearing worlds. For Berthier, it was through his social and political activism and his scholarship. Pitrois was dedicated to learning and telling the stories of deaf and deaf-blind individuals with a moral end in view, and Rocheleau presented a radiant feminism, inclusive of both deaf and hearing women.

In chapter one, Rachel Hartig explores the nature of biographical form concluding that “in an earlier era, a biographer might write uncritically about a friend or family member, offering praise or at least withholding information that would be unflattering to the subject.” Contrarily, today’s biographers must not alter historical truth. Read it now, and use your exclusive subscriber discount to save 20% off the regular price when you order online or by mail. For online orders, type “SEP0620%” in the “Comments or Special Instructions” box below your credit card information.


New Approaches to Interpreter Education, the third installment in the Interpreter Education series, captures a broad range of topics and themes representing areas of innovation in curricula for the teaching of interpreting. David B. Sawyer, Diplomatic Interpreter and Translator with the Bureau of Administration’s Office of Language Services at the U.S. Department of State, notes: “Much of the writing on interpreter education, one of the main strands of interpreting studies (IS) research, has centered on the micro-level of teaching methodology, as did volumes one and two in this series, with the notable exception of Cokely (2005). Recently, this discussion of classroom strategies has been increasingly complemented by innovation in research on the macro level of program curricula. This volume reflects this trend.”

Read more about this latest addition in chapter two, “Designing Curriculum for Healthcare Interpreting Education: A Principles Approach,” and order New Approaches to Interpreter Education here.


Library Journal published a starred review in its latest issue for Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller by Georgina Kleege, Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. “Kleege reckons with Keller’s life, seeking the hidden backstories to particular episodes, and, with unstinting self-honesty, tries to understand her own need to create ‘this weird, contrived correspondence.’ Contrived it may be, but it is never weird, and it is utterly absorbing, both in its graceful renditions of particular days in Keller’s life and in the author’s self-analysis along the way. Kleege is a gifted writer—her description of Keller’s final day is wondrous. This book has a cumulative power, and the reader—whether or not already familiar with Keller’s life—will become deeply moved...highly recommended.” In Blind Rage, Georgina Kleege employs the use of personal letters to delve beneath the surface of Helen Keller’s seemingly happy-go-lucky demeanor and, in the end, comes to appreciate the individual who found a practical way to live despite the restrictions of her myth. The full review is available online. Also online are the table of contents and an excerpt from part one. And, you can order Blind Rage here.


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