There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness
M Leona Godin (Author)
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DescriptionFrom Homer to Helen Keller, from Dune to Stevie Wonder, from the invention of braille to the science of echolocation, M. Leona Godin explores the fascinating history of blindness, interweaving it with her own story of gradually losing her sight. "[A] thought-provoking mixture of criticism, memoir, and advocacy. --The New Yorker There Plant Eyes probes the ways in which blindness has shaped our ocularcentric culture, challenging deeply ingrained ideas about what it means to be "blind." For millennia, blindness has been used to signify such things as thoughtlessness ("blind faith"), irrationality ("blind rage"), and unconsciousness ("blind evolution"). But at the same time, blind people have been othered as the recipients of special powers as compensation for lost sight (from the poetic gifts of John Milton to the heightened senses of the comic book hero Daredevil). Godin--who began losing her vision at age ten--illuminates the often-surprising history of both the condition of blindness and the myths and ideas that have grown up around it over the course of generations. She combines an analysis of blindness in art and culture (from King Lear to Star Wars) with a study of the science of blindness and key developments in accessibility (the white cane, embossed printing, digital technology) to paint a vivid personal and cultural history. A genre-defying work, There Plant Eyes reveals just how essential blindness and vision are to humanity's understanding of itself and the world.
June 01, 2021
5.7 X 8.5 X 1.3 inches | 1.1 pounds
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About the Author
M. Leona Godin (pronounced like French sculptor Rodin) is a writer, performer, educator, and the author of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural history of Blindness (Pantheon, 2021). Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, O Magazine, Electric Literature, Catapult, and other print and online publications. She produced two plays: "The Star of Happiness" about Helen Keller's time performing in vaudeville, and "The Spectator and the Blind Man," about the invention of braille. Godin holds a PhD in English, and besides her many years teaching literature and humanities courses at NYU, she has lectured on art, accessibility, technology, and disability at such places as Tandon School of Engineering, Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, and the American Printing House for the Blind. Her online magazine exploring the arts and sciences of smell and taste, Aromatica Poetica, publishes writing and art from around the world.