Seeing Voices: A Journey Into the World of the Deaf

Oliver W. Sacks, Author University of California Press $24.95 (180p) ISBN 978-0-520-06083-8
Neurologist Sacks ( The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat ) has interviewed disoriented children who lost the sense of hearing before they acquired language skills. Prelingual deafness, he speculates, may be a hidden scourge that stunts the intellectual and emotional development of untold thousands. At the opposite pole of such impoverishment are the philosophy classes and sign-language theatrical events he attended at Gallaudet University, a liberal-arts college for the deaf in Washington, D.C. In an extraordinarily moving and thought-provoking report, he scrutinizes the history of treatment of the deaf, investigates the expressive capabilities of sign language and gauges the linguistic and social pressures faced by deaf people. The closing section documents a 1988 student revolt at Gallaudet that led to the appointment of the school's first deaf president. Illustrations. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
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