Read Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller by Georgina Kleege Online


As a young blind girl, Georgina Kleege repeatedly heard the refrain, “Why can’t you be more like Helen Keller?” Kleege’s resentment culminates in her book Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller, an ingenious examination of the life of this renowned international figure using 21st-century sensibilities. Kleege’s absorption with Keller originated as an angry response to the ideAs a young blind girl, Georgina Kleege repeatedly heard the refrain, “Why can’t you be more like Helen Keller?” Kleege’s resentment culminates in her book Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller, an ingenious examination of the life of this renowned international figure using 21st-century sensibilities. Kleege’s absorption with Keller originated as an angry response to the ideal of a secular saint, which no real blind or deaf person could ever emulate. However, her investigation into the genuine person revealed that a much more complex set of characters and circumstances shaped Keller’s life.Blind Rage employs an adroit form of creative nonfiction to review the critical junctures in Keller’s life. The simple facts about Helen Keller are well-known: how Anne Sullivan taught her deaf-blind pupil to communicate and learn; her impressive career as a Radcliffe graduate and author; her countless public appearances in various venues, from cinema to vaudeville, to campaigns for the American Foundation for the Blind. But Kleege delves below the surface to question the perfection of this image. Through the device of her letters, she challenges Keller to reveal her actual emotions, the real nature of her long relationship with Sullivan, with Sullivan’s husband, and her brief engagement to Peter Fagan. Kleege’s imaginative dramatization, distinguished by her depiction of Keller’s command of abstract sensations, gradually shifts in perspective from anger to admiration. Blind Rage criticizes the Helen Keller myth for prolonging an unrealistic model for blind people, yet it appreciates the individual who found a practical way to live despite the restrictions of her myth....

Title : Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781563682957
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller Reviews

  • l.
    2019-05-28 15:46

    "Consciousness on trial" is a fascinating essay.

  • Kathleen Hagen
    2019-05-22 17:50

    Blind Rage: an open Letter to Helen Keller, by Georgina Kleege. Borrowed from Library of Congress Library Services for the blind.This month has definitely been one for amazing books, and this is another one. Georgina Kleege is a blind professor of English and creative writing at Berkeley. She took on the task of writing about Helen Keller, but with a difference. She tried to look beyond the myths about Helen, to analyze things that must have been stressful to Helen. She used all the nonfiction accounts, including those written by Keller, as reference material, and then fictionalized conversations with Helen Keller, really a combining of fiction and nonfiction. Many blind people, plus people with other disabilities, who have grown up hearing about Helen Keller, her saintliness and cheerfulness, etc. hated her. Georgina began these letters to Helen Keller with that same feeling about her. But as she read about Helen, the biographies about her and the books and journals she wrote about her own life, her feelings changed. This book, based on nonfiction writings, still has the feel of fiction because Georgina is writing a letter to Helen Keller who in 2006 has been dead for almost 40 years. Georgina explores Helen’s life, makes guesses about her feelings at various times, discusses her own feelings as a blind woman, and much much more. This book blew me away!

  • manatee
    2019-06-13 18:24

    Helen Keller was a radical and possibly a lesbian.This was a wonderfully written, rich, scathing, funny, sympathetic book that introduced me to the idea of Disability Studies.I really learned to understand the different facets of the author's blindness. Also a refreshing, irreverent look at HK. A fantastic book.

  • Evalangui
    2019-06-11 13:47

    Daring format, interesting topic and thoughtful reflections. If you are looking for a biography, then no, this isn't it. This is Kleege's reading of all those other Hellen Keller books, her response to them, the ways in which she fills the gaps left by provable history and facts and comments on Keller's disability from the perspective of her own modern blind experience.Kleege is really interested in Keller's romantic life, I'm not convinced it is entirely because officially Keller is so asexualized as part of the process of turning her into a saint but that is a decent reason. Although asexuality is real, can you think of a less likely candidate than someone for whom touch is a primary sense? Not to mention that while real, it is also quite rare and being deaf-blind is already a rarity indeed. Kleege's speculations were interesting, then she won me over by suggesting than Keller and Teacher (AKA Anne Sullivan) might have had a romantic relationship (a Boston marriage) and Teacher's own marriage to Macy might have been a cover up for that (or a threeway relationship!). Basically I'm about to start writing them fanfic now, since this feels quite like meta.Many seem to find the second person narratative tedious, I love it. It's intimate and different, makes you think of the words. It also perfect for the game of 'what ifs' that this book ultimately is (it's reliance on actual facts is not the best, afaik, but that is also not the point).I really liked the analysis of language (how dare a blind person speak of colours?) and Keller's explanation that no language existed to describe the variety of input she got through touch/smell/taste in the English language, and, if it did, it would not be understood by Normals. As well as the general criticism of abled-bodied people of the supposed capacities of those who lack one or more sense (the author gets corrected when she writes 'I was reading a book' instead of 'I was listening to a book'), I have considered whether it is accurate to use 'read' to refer to audiobooks and concluded that it is (it's actually *harder* for me to listen, tbh).I really enjoyed this and you should know Hellen Keller's own books are available at Guttenberg Project for free. "The World I Live In" looks great!

  • Erika
    2019-05-23 13:39

    This is now one of my favorite books. I got it from the library out of curiosity. I've heard the criticisms that Keller was nothing without Anne Sullivan. She was simply trained to parrot some phrases, and cued by fingerspelling to act out specific behaviors. Sure, some of her accomplishments were remarkable, especially in the time and place where she lived. I suppose I can understand how some people might believe all that.What I hadn't realized was the level of resentment of Keller that's present in the disabled community. Because of her status as a paragon, virginal, selfless, uncomplaining, ever cheerful, she became nearly impossible for most people - regardless of ability - to live up to. It never occurred to me that disabled people were being told "why can't you be more like Helen Keller?" Of course they would resent that. Especially in this modern world where people are freer to speak their minds, where the disabled have more autonomy than before, why shouldn't they complain when things are hard for them? People complain when their latte is too hot; why shouldn't a person complain when they can't access basic necessities?Anyway, Blind Rage is written by one of the Keller-haters. Georgina Kleege is a writer and college professor, and is also blind. She grew up hearing the comparisons, never feeling that she measured up. She unleashed some of her hostility in a one sided correspondence with Helen. As she did, she researched Keller's life. It wasn't an easy one. The more she read and the more she wrote, the more Kleege came to understand Helen. To empathize. She doesn't and won't let Keller off the hook for her contribution to the Helen Keller Mythos, but she develops an understanding of where it came from and why.There are wild leaps of conjecture, including the idea that Helen was most probably molested as a child. Kleege seems pretty convinced. I'm less so. Even with the disagreements, the writing is compelling. I read the book in a day - couldn't go to sleep until I was done. There's an urgency that just wouldn't let me go.

  • Lightreads
    2019-06-09 19:42

    A book I should have liked, but really, unreasonably didn't. A blind English professor writes letters to Helen Keller, who is a really uncomfortable figure for the disability community because her "story inscribes the idea that disability is a personal tragedy to be overcome through an individual's fortitude and pluck, rather than a set of cultural practices and assumptions effecting many individuals that could be changed through collective action." Kleege talks about that discomfort, and the assorted favors and damage Keller's narrative did the disability movement by probing some of the difficult unknowns of Keller's life, such as her always-elided sexuality, her socialism, and the persistent claims that she was nothing more than one of those horses that can appear to do math by following trained cues – that she was a fake, because clearly she could not be intelligent. The letter format makes it personal and reflective, and lets Kleege do some interesting work with narratives and points-of-view and the lens of modernity.And ug, I did not like it, and it was all about the damn letters. Kind of twee, sure, but really it's just that I seem to be allergic to second-person writing these days. Seriously, I was having flashbacks to bad eighties lit fiction, and I was in actuality just reading freaking Dr. Seuss in the eighties. I don't know why I had such a huge problem with the form of this book, because its content was generally good, if not ever surprising to someone in my particular niche of the disability movement.Just, second-person. For hundreds of pages. Yargh.

  • Bart
    2019-05-20 13:37

    "But now, I find myself spending endless hours speculating about the truth behind the facts of your life, wondering what really happened. I extrapolate, I read between the lines, I out-and-out fictionalize" (93). Georgina Kleege's Blind Rage is a creative historical non-fiction biography with analysis on real/imagined events, a (day)dream journal, and other musings to and about Helen Keller. Some of the analysis - such as observations on biographers' needs to preserve Keller as virginal and societal acceptance of Kellers' writings as "true" - is interesting. However, reading analysis on speculations, some of which have little founding, was tedious, as was the prose, most of which Kleege writes in second person.

  • Jennifer Anderson
    2019-06-13 13:50

    I thought it was a great, thought-provoking book. A bit slow at times (for me, anyway), but overall I loved the read! It made me realize to what extent I myself had been forced to pass as a fully sighted person throughout my childhood. Not being allowed to hold my hand out in front of me so I wouldn't bump into things, being told to watch where I was going (a little hard for a legally blind person), and then not being taught to use a cane all made it seem like it was "better to look sighted". As I gained more independence I found it easier to use a white cane, etc and the problem was forgotten about - but this book made me think about things completely differently. :)

  • Pam
    2019-05-24 15:44

    It took a little while to get used to the idea that someone would needle Helen Keller - which is the point - she's such an icon and "national treasure" that she was never allowed to be human - at least in the public eye. Georgina Kleege has done a good job of illustrating what irked her about the fairy tale of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan.I hope to read some of the sources Kleege cites as my curiosity has been piqued about the situations Keller dealt with.

  • Mia
    2019-06-16 14:43

    A book that uses the conceit of correspondences between the author and HK to examine the latter's mythos and the problems it presents for the former as a contemporary blind woman. I want lots more people to read this.

  • Michele
    2019-06-05 17:23

    The first half was better than the second half. An OK book, not fabulous.

  • Emily Michael
    2019-05-21 16:50

    There aren't enough stars!!!!! This book is warm, engaging, and powerful. Kleege's treatment of Keller is personal but not saccharine. I loved this reading so much!

  • Prashansa
    2019-05-24 13:48

    Okay! Fine!