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Sweet Bells Jangled

Laura Redden Searing, A Deaf Poet Restored

Judy Yaeger Jones and Jane E. Vallier, Editors

Publication Year: 2003

Laura Redden Searing (1839-1923) defied critics of the time by establishing herself as a successful poet, a poet who was deaf. She began writing verse at the Missouri School for the Deaf in 1858, and, under the pseudonym Howard Glyndon, soon found herself catapulted into national prominence by her patriotic Civil War poems. Abraham Lincoln himself bought her books, the most critically acclaimed being Idylls of Battle and Poems of the Rebellion, published in 1864. Her poem “Belle Missouri” became the song of the Missouri Volunteers, and she was sent by the St. Louis Republican newspaper to Washington as a war correspondent. Despite her success, detractors decried her poetry simply because she was deaf, asking how she could know anything of rhyme, rhythm, or musical composition. She quieted them with the simple elegance of her words and the sophistication of her allegorical themes. Readers can enjoy her work again in this volume, which features more than 70 of her finest poems. They also will learn her feelings about the constraints imposed on 19th-century women in her epic narrative of misunderstanding and lost love “Sweet Bells Jangled:” Out of sight of the heated land Over the breezy sea; Into the reach of the solemn mist Quietly drifted we. Her restoration will be an event welcomed by poetry aficionados everywhere.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Series: Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies Series


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Title Page

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pp. v-vii

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pp. ix-xii

I first encountered Laura Redden through my work as a historian of women when the National Women's History Project in California offered, and I purchased, a book written by Mabs Holcomb and Sharon Wood entitled Deaf Women: A Parade Through the Decades (San Diego: DawnSignPress, 1989). An endnote on page 111 told of a Minnesota town...

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A Brief Biography of Laura Redden Searing

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pp. 1-20

Laura Catherine Redden was born with the soul of a poet on February 9, 1839 to Littleton John Redden and Wilhelmina Waller Redden in a sparsely settled area of Somerset County near Princess Anne on Maryland's Eastern Shore.1 She was their oldest living child. Two younger brothers, Valerian "Val" Stuart and Alexander "Alex" Littleton would be...

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Laura Redden Searing: A Restored Voice in American Poetry

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pp. 21-35

When the editors of the St. Louis Republican sent twenty-two-year-old Laura Redden to Washington, D.C., to cover the Civil War, neither the editors nor Redden could have predicted the physical, moral, and political slaughter that lay ahead. The editors of the Republican asked Redden, a recent graduate of the Missouri School for the Deaf, to send back...

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The Idyls of Battle

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pp. 37-66

The Red, White, and Blue, In Time of War, Left on the Battle-Field, To the Earnest Thinkers, De Profundis, The Story of Sumter, Watch-Night, The Legend of Our Victories, The Latest War News, Baker, The Snow in October, An Appeal, The Graves of Gettysburg, The Snow at Fredericksburg, The President's Proclamation, A Greeting for a New Year, The Volunteer's Return, My Absent Soldier, Butler's Black Brigade, The Quiet Man, My Story, The Last Poem

E-ISBN-13: 9781563682681
E-ISBN-10: 1563682680
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563681387
Print-ISBN-10: 1563681382

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 10 photos
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies Series
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OCLC Number: 57352343
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Sweet Bells Jangled