front cover of Blind Rage
Blind Rage
Letters to Helen Keller
Georgina Kleege
Gallaudet University Press, 2006

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 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.


front cover of How I Would Help the World
How I Would Help the World
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2011

Swedenborg’s books are an inexhaustible well-spring of satisfaction to those who live the life of the mind. I plunge my hands into my large Braille volumes containing his teachings, and withdraw them full of the secrets of the spiritual world.

— Helen Keller, How I Would Help the World

This essay by Helen Keller expresses her deep gratitude to Emanuel Swedenborg, the Swedish seer, who had a profound influence on her spiritual life. In it she talks about the importance of love and truth in a world filled with materialism and selfishness, and the joy that comes from true understanding.

Her great advice on how she would help the world is to have people read Swedenborg’s writings and thereby overcome the many problems of the human condition. She states, “It would be such a joy to me if I might be the instrument of bringing Swedenborg to a world that is spiritually deaf and blind.” She further states that reading Swedenborg and understanding his words “has been my strongest incitement to overcome limitations.”

Her words are interwoven with photographs of her life and quotes from Swedenborg on spiritual topics. This book will be a treasure for readers who already know and respect Helen Keller and an inspiration for those who do not.


front cover of Letters from Red Farm
Letters from Red Farm
The Untold Story of the Friendship between Helen Keller and Journalist Joseph Edgar Chamberlin
Elizabeth Emerson
University of Massachusetts Press, 2021
In 1888, young Helen Keller traveled to Boston with her teacher, Annie Sullivan, where they met a man who would change her life: Boston Transcript columnist and editor Joseph Edgar Chamberlin. Throughout her childhood and young adult years, Keller spent weekends and holidays at Red Farm, the Chamberlins' home in Wrentham, Massachusetts, a bustling environment where avant-garde writers, intellectuals, and social reformers of the day congregated. Keller eventually called Red Farm home for a year when she was sixteen.

Informed by previously unpublished letters and extensive research, Letters from Red Farm explores for the first time Keller's deep and enduring friendship with the man who became her literary mentor and friend for over forty years. Written by Chamberlin's great-great granddaughter, this engaging story imparts new insights into Keller's life and personality, introduces the irresistible Chamberlin to a modern public, and follows Keller's burgeoning interest in social activism, as she took up the causes of disability rights, women's issues, and pacifism.

front cover of Light in My Darkness
Light in My Darkness
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2000

One of Time's women of the century, Helen Keller, reveals her mystical side in this best-selling spiritual autobiography. Writing that her first reading of Emanuel Swedenborg at age fourteen gave her truths that were "to my faculties what light, color and music are to the eye and ear," she explains how Swedenborg's works sustained her throughout her life.

This new edition includes a foreword by Dorothy Herrmann, author of the acclaimed Helen Keller: A Life, and a new chapter, "Epilogue: My Luminous Universe."


front cover of Unconventional Politics
Unconventional Politics
Nineteenth-Century Women Writers and U.S. Indian Policy
Janet Dean
University of Massachusetts Press, 2016
Throughout the nineteenth century, Native and non-Native women writers protested U.S. government actions that threatened indigenous people's existence. The conventional genres they sometimes adopted—the sensationalistic captivity narrative, sentimental Indian lament poetry, didactic assimilation fiction, and the mass-circulated commercial magazine—typically had been used to reinforce the oppressive policies of removal, war, and allotment. But in Unconventional Politics Janet Dean explores how four authors, Sarah Wakefield, Lydia Huntley Sigourney, the Muscogee/Creek S. Alice Callahan, and the Cherokee Ora V. Eddleman, converted these frameworks to serve a politics of dissent. Intervening in current debates in feminist and Native American literary criticism, Dean shows how these women advocated for Native Americans by both politicizing conventional literature and employing literary skill to respond to national policy.

Dean argues that in protesting U.S. Indian policy through popular genres, Wakefield, Sigourney, Callahan, and Eddleman also critiqued cultural protocols and stretched the contours of accepted modes of feminine discourse. Their acts of improvisation and reinvention tell a new story about the development of American women's writing and political expression.

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