- Crossing the Divide: Representations of Deafness in Biography
A biographical treatment of three deaf French biographers' treatments of their deaf subjects. In each central chapter, Hartig first constructs her own biographies of the three late nineteenth and early twentieth century deaf biographers at the focus of her book—Jean-Ferdinand Berthier, Yvonne Pitrois, and Corinne Rocheleau. Arguing that each of these three biographers approaches his/her "subject" as a way of approaching self—"to explore their innermost selves and deal with feelings of ambivalence about their own deafness" (viii)—Hartig suggests that each of these three biographers writes as a way to cross a cultural divide that exists between deaf and hearing people. The opening and closing chapters first discuss the general (autobiographical) nature of biographical form, and then, in conclusion, the more specific role of these three biographers' use of the genre as a way "to heal the traumas they had experienced" (as deaf people). As the biographer of other biographers, Hartig does not reflect on her own auto/biographical role in this work. [End Page 312]
Brenda Jo Brueggemann is Professor of English and Disability Studies at Ohio State University.