Blindness and Writing: From Wordsworth to Gissing

Blindness and Writing: From Wordsworth to Gissing

by Heather Tilley

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Overview

In this innovative and important study, Heather Tilley examines the huge shifts that took place in the experience and conceptualisation of blindness during the nineteenth century, and demonstrates how new writing technologies for blind people had transformative effects on literary culture. Considering the ways in which visually-impaired people used textual means to shape their own identities, the book argues that blindness was also a significant trope through which writers reflected on the act of crafting literary form. Supported by an illuminating range of archival material (including unpublished letters from Wordsworth's circle, early ophthalmologic texts, embossed books, and autobiographies) this is a rich account of blind people's experience, and reveals the close, and often surprising personal engagement that canonical writers had with visual impairment. Drawing on the insights of disability studies and cultural phenomenology, Tilley highlights the importance of attending to embodied experience in the production and consumption of texts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107194212
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 11/02/2017
Series: Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture , #109
Pages: 294
Product dimensions: 6.18(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.71(d)

About the Author

Heather Tilley is Birkbeck Wellcome Trust ISSF Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Table of Contents

Part I. Blind People's Writing Practices: 1. Writing blindness, from vision to touch; 2. The materiality of blindness in Wordsworth's imagination; 3. 'A literature for the blind': the development of raised print systems; 4. Memoirs of the blind: the genre of blind biographical writing; Part II: Literary Blindness: 5. Blindness, gender, and autobiography: reading and writing the self in Jane Eyre, Aurora Leigh, and The Life of Charlotte Brontë; 6. Writing blindness: Dickens; 7. Embodying blindness in the Victorian novel: Frances Browne's My Share of the World and Wilkie Collins' Poor Miss Finch; 8. Blindness, writing, and the failure of imagination in Gissing's New Grub Street.

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