Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller

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Gallaudet University Press, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 209 pages
6 Reviews

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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Evalangui - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

Review: Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller

User Review  - Erika - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review



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About the author (2006)

Georgina Kleege is Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, CA.

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