|View Our Catalog||Forging Deaf Education in Nineteenth-Century France|
This book was written by Ferdinand Berthier and edited and translated by Freeman G. Henry. Ferdinand Berthier (1803-1886) was president of the Société Centrale des Sourds-Muets, Dean of the Royal Deaf Institute of Paris, and a member of the 1-listori- cal Institute of France. Freeman G. Henry is professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.
In 1811, deaf student Ferdinand Berthier received his education at the National Institute for the Deaf in Paris. The director was the famous Abbé Sicard. His three teachers were Auguste Bébian, Jean Massieu, and Laurent Clerc. Their teaching eventually led Berthier to join the faculty at the Institute. Berthier became a life-long proponent of sign language and Deaf culture. Berthier earned his fame for hosting the famous silent banquets in Paris in 1834. He also wrote biographies of important figures who advocated sign over oralism to educate deaf French students. Berthier’s biographical sketches of the four men who influenced him the most became this book, Forging Deaf Education in Nineteenth-Century France.
Berthier wrote about Bébian in 1839. Bébian advocated sign language for teaching deaf students after the death of the prooralism Institute Director Désiré Ordinaire. In later writings, he described Sicard and Massieu in positive terms, but also criticized them for supporting “methodical” signing that conformed to spoken language conventions. In contrast, he wrote positive things about Clerc in his portrayal for using “natural” signing to teach deaf students.
This book included a lot of interesting historical information. It included letters from Sicard and others. This book is an important piece of history, especially deaf history. It was really interesting to learn what the education was like in France. Those people were [an] important part of our American deaf education, since Laurent Clerc was the first Deaf teacher who came to teach at American School for the Deaf in Connecticut.
I would recommend this book to those who are interested in studying about the history of deaf education. It also can be used in deaf studies courses. The clarity of these translations will introduce a brand new audience to Berthier’s biographies shaped by his unswerving beliefs about deaf French education. If you do choose to read this book for whatever reasons, I am sure you will learn a lot from this book. Do enjoy!
Freeman G. Henry is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.
ISBN 1-56368-415-2, 978-1-56368-415-9, 6 x 9 casebound, 148 pages, photographs, references, index
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