||A Key to the World
Translated by Bill Moody
Published by Eyes Éditions. Available in the US and Canada from Gallaudet University Press.
Victor Abbou is an invaluable witness to the period in France which is called the Deaf Awakening. His story is a treasure trove of archival material of that period, as he was one of the trailblazers in so many fields: actor, activist, trainer and teacher of future interpreters studying at the university. In doing all of this, he created bridges between two worlds, the world of the deaf and the world of the hearing, which were in close proximity but which were separated by a great chasm. Victor’s story also shines a light on the key role played by several Americans who contributed significant sparks which ignited the French Deaf Awakening. This Franco-American connection in contemporary Deaf history is yet another bridge which Victor Abbou’s story documents in great detail.
Victor Abbou, still a very active retiree, is a well-known figure in the Deaf community as one of the first activists of the Deaf Reawakening movement in France. He is one of the co-founders of IVT (International Visual Theater), now led by Emmanuelle Laborit, and has had a career as a teacher of French Sign Language (LSF) for future French/LSF interpreters within the association “Deaf Hearing Research Action Communication” (SERAC) at the Paris VIII, Lille III, and Rouen universities. He is also an actor and teacher of workshops and a popular emcee.