Reflections

The Life and Writings of a Young Blind Woman in Post-Revolutionary France

144 pages

February, 2002

ISBN: 9780814747469

$40

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Authors

All books by Therese-Adèle Husson

Catherine J. Kudlick is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Davis, and author of Cholera in Post-Revolutionary Paris: A Cultural History.

All books by Catherine Kudlick

Dr. Zina Weygand is a researcher at the Laboratoire Brigitte Frybourg pour l'insertion Sociale des Personnes Handicape'es at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Me'tiers in Paris and is author of numerous articles on the history of blind people in France.

All books by Zina Weygand

In the 1820s, several years before Braille was invented, Therese-Adele Husson, a young blind woman from provincial France, wrote an audacious manifesto about her life, French society, and her hopes for the future. Through extensive research and scholarly detective work, authors Catherine Kudlick and Zina Weygand have rescued this intriguing woman and the remarkable story of her life and tragic death from obscurity, giving readers a rare look into a world recorded by an unlikely historical figure.

Reflections is one of the earliest recorded manifestations of group solidarity among people with the same disability, advocating self-sufficiency and independence on the part of blind people, encouraging education for all blind children, and exploring gender roles for both men and women. Resolutely defying the sense of "otherness" which pervades discourse about the disabled, Husson instead convinces us that that blindness offers a fresh and important perspective on both history and ourselves.

In rescuing this important historical account and recreating the life of an obscure but potent figure, Weygand and Kudlick have awakened a perspective that transcends time and which, ultimately, remaps our inherent ideas of physical sensibility

Reviews

  • "Offering insight into the compelling history of people with disabilities, this is one of the earliest accounts written by someone with an actual disability rather than by an observer or educator."

    Library Journal

  • "A brief but fascinating glimpse into the role of women, religion, disability and notions of the self in early 19th-century France."

    Publishers Weekly

  • "Both Husson's autobiographical writing and Kudlick's and Weygand's short social history of the blight of the blind in nineteenth-century France will interest anyone whose work or intellectual interests lie in the field of modern disability studies."

    H-Net Reviews