Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-v

CONTENTS

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p. vii

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PREFACE

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pp. ix-xi

The idea of translating the biographies contained in this volume came to me as I was researching another project, an integrated history of the French language since the Renaissance. The “integrated” aspect of that study takes into account the linguistic and cultural imperatives of the national idiom as they relate both to government and to the various other idioms...

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. xiii-xiv

In a long career there are certain books that stand out above the others, not necessarily for their notoriety, but rather for the message they communicate and for the connection they make with the author’s inner being. This is such a book. I am thus especially grateful to those who have helped bring it to fruition. First and foremost I owe a very real debt to Michelle...

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. xv-xxxvii

Eight-year-old Ferdinand Berthier arrived at the Paris Deaf Institute in 1811 as a nonhearing, nonspeaking student. The school had been directed since the Revolution by the hearing and speaking Abbé Sicard, who had succeeded the Abbé de l’Épée as France’s most prominent deaf educator. The staff during Berthier’s formative years included two nonhearing and...

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Auguste Bébian

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pp. 1-27

Some men spend their modest, hardworking lives sequestered in their studies, their dedication and determination waiting for just the right moment when, after years of being ignored and unappreciated, they finally receive the recognition that is rightly theirs. The man whose life I am about to bring to light is such an individual; his monumental works are a testimony...

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Abbé Sicard

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pp. 29-100

On November 26, 1854, a family reunion brought us together on the occasion of the 142nd anniversary of the birth of the Abbé de l’Épée.* One of the most diligent guests, Monsieur Léon Vaïsse, who has since been named director of the National Deaf Institute of Paris, where he served as a teacher for many years, expressed the heartfelt wish that I, the humble...

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Jean Massieu

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pp. 101-121

Jean Massieu was born in 1772 in the village of Semens, near Cadillac, in the Department of the Gironde, of poor, ill-fated parents. They had in their care five other children afflicted with the same infirmity. Jean spent his early years tending sheep. He counted them on his fingers, and when the number exceeded ten, he made a mark on his staff and began again. Jean often...

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Laurent Clerc

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pp. 121-129

At Balme, near Lyon, Laurent Clerc began his life in 1785 with a triple infirmity: he was deprived of hearing, speech, and the sense of smell. But nature compensated him generously. He had not yet reached the age of twelve when he was admitted to the Abbé Sicard’s school. His progress was so rapid in every aspect of the program...

Index

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pp. 131-136