Angels and Outcasts
An Anthology of Deaf Characters in Literature
Publication Year: 1985
Published by: Gallaudet University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint the following materials in this anthology. "At the Dances of the Deaf-Mutes" by Walter Toman. Reprinted by permission of The Chicago Review from The Chicago Review Anthology, Vol. 10, No.3, 1959. "Talking Horse" from Rembrandt's Hat by Bernard Malamud. Copyright 1968, 1972, 1973 by Bernard Malamud. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, Inc.
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This book, unique when it appeared in 1976, is still unique and therefore serves an important purpose for understanding deaf people and deaf culture. When it was first published, Gallaudet University did not have a university press; now it does and we are pleased that Gallaudet University Press decided to re-issue our book, newly tailored and spiffed-up for its reintroduction to the...
PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION
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In this book, you will find selected fictional and biographical works of the last century and a half which deal with deafness-that is, they all have deaf characters in them. This collection, then, is an extremely valuable tool for those who are interested in understanding deafness better because it is a unique collection and with it, one can study deafness in a totally new way. From...
Part One: The Nineteenth Century
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Nineteenth century stories with deaf characters show a marked contrast in tone to those written in the twentieth century. The deaf characters themselves are of a different sort altogether: they are pitiable rather than extraordinary. They are good, better than their hearing counterparts. Because they are outside of society, they have not imbibed of the evil within society, so are superior...
Pierre and Camille
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"Pierre and Camille" is a nineteenth century story written by a Frenchman, de Musset, who obviously had great sympathy for the deaf people of his time. The story reflects a great deal of awareness of the difficulties a deaf child faces in growing up in a hearing world, especially if the child has hearing parents. De Musset correctly locates Camille's...
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Doctor Marigold, for whom this story is named, is a "cheap jack," what we in America would call an itinerant peddlar, or perhaps a "medicine man." Cheap jacks flourished in England in the last century and sold general store items from the back of a cart. This particular cheap jack adopts a deaf girl after his real daughter dies and later arranges for...
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Gerasim, the noble deaf hero of Mumu, can remain noble only because he is outside of the society of the time due to his deafness. Had he been a man of normal hearing, the tragedies in the story would not have befallen him, but, at the same time, his nobility would have been compromised. His emotions and sentiments could remain pure and...
The Deaf Mute
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In this story we encounter another Gerasim. The deafman's name this time is Gargan, and he does not live in quite as pleasant surroundings as does Gerasim, but he, like Gerasim, must kill the one he loves because of the vulturism of his fellows, and accept a life of total isolation afterwards. Gargan, like Gerasim, is silent but extraordinarily...
Part Two: The Twentieth Century
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In the twentieth century, especially in the last ten years, deaf characters have begun to appear more often in literature, and in more kinds of roles. It appears that deaf characters work well in the imagination of writers who are trying to transmit a sense of the modern condition as they see it-its absurdity, its alienating pressures, its destruction of the individual, its smothering of the...
Why It Was W-on-the-Eyes
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Margaret Montague's charming story of Charlie Webster at his deaf school is always a favorite with the students in our Deaf in Literature class. This is a real story, about the real deaf experience, with real deaf people in it, and the real conditions under which most deaf people grow up. In this story, there is an underlying argument which...
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The following is a brief excerpt from the novel King Silence by Arnold Payne. It is the only part of the novel that has much value either in literary terms or for our purposes in this anthology, but in these few pages how much is said! It is incredible to think that a person would first find someone to communicate with at the age of seven! Of course, other...
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The deaf couple in "The Key" are deaf so as to emphasize their separation from the world, their separation brought on by romantic and wishful thinking about a future that will never come. In this story, they miss their train to Niagara Falls, where they expect that after years of marriage they will finally find what it means to hear (or what it means to...
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This strange allegory presents us with a talking horse, Abramowitz, and his deaf master, Goldberg. The allegory makes special use of Goldberg's deafness to intensify the feelings of frustration that Abramowitz experiences in trying to free himself of Goldberg's control. Goldberg refuses to allow Abramowitz to ask questions,...
At the Dances of the Deaf-Mutes
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"At the Dances of the Deaf~Mutes" is an allegory, in which the deaf and blind people represent two types of people who are different, who cannot communicate very well between themselves, but who find a ceremonial way of com- munication. As such, the story is a psychological study of human communication.
Part Three: From Deaf Authors
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In this section, five deaf authors describe the experience of being deaf. Needless to say, these writers get down to the essentials of the day-to-day experience. It is interesting to compare the viewpoints in this section with those in the previous sections. In those sections, the deaf characters are all manifestations of the writer's views of society or of life in general. Perhaps the deaf character represents a superior...
The Lost Senses
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John Kitto, an English missionary of the last century, wrote this autobiography in mid life. He had lost his hearing early in life, though postlingually, and tells us of the difficulties he had in finding a niche in life because of the prejudices against deaf people. It should be interesting to all our deaf readers who have struggled much of their life with English...
A Voice from the Silence
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The following excerpt is more notable for its being written by a deaf author than for its insight into deafness or for its literary merit. Howard L. Terry is the only published deaf novelist, but he rarely wrote about deafness or used deaf characters, the character in this story, Jack Harlow, being the only important one. And, indeed, even with Harlow...
The Deaf Mute Howls
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This excerpt from The Deaf Mute Howls tells us more about the deaf experience than almost anything written before it. Its chief value, beyond having been written by a deaf man, is that it reveals to use the rage that many deaf people feel against a world that is so constantly unfair. Ballin, to be sure, did not suffer as did the fictional characters Gerasim...
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In this chapter from Relgis' fictionalized autobiography, we see Miron (Relgis' stand-in) experiencing the first day in the world as a deaf person. The prose reflects the disorientation that one experiences with the loss ofhearing. Miron's former friends, seeing him acting in a strange way, begin to attack him as beasts of prey would a wounded game...
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The following excerpt from No Sound by Julius Wiggins, present editor and publisher of the Silent News ("America's Most Popular Newspaper for the Deaf'), contains numerous insights into the deaf experience. Wiggins was, of course, unusually successful for a deaf person of his time, and so has reason to write of his life. He does not record the...
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Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 1985