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Evenings with an Author: Gerald Shea,The Language of Light: A History of Silent Voices
Wednesday 04 October 2017, 19:30

Location : The American Library in Paris

Category : Adults

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Partially deaf due to a childhood illness, Gerald Shea is no stranger to the search for communicative grace and clarity. In this eloquent and thoroughly researched book, he uncovers the centuries-long struggle of the Deaf to be taught in sign language—the only language that renders them complete, fully communicative human beings. Shea explores the history of the deeply biased attitudes toward the Deaf in Europe and America, which illogically forced them to be taught in a language they could neither hear nor speak. As even A.G. Bell, a fervent oralist, admitted, sign language is "the quickest method of reaching the mind of a deaf child." Shea’s research exposes a persistent but misguided determination among hearing educators to teach the Deaf orally, making the very faculty they lacked the principal instrument of their instruction. To forbid their education in sign language—the “language of light”—is to deny the Deaf their human rights, he concludes.(Yale University Press).




About the author

sheaGeraldGerald Shea has lived most of his life in New York and in Paris, and practiced law in both cities for many years with Debevoise & Plimpton as a member of the New York and Paris bars. While at Phillips Academy he studied with Dudley Fitts, and at Yale with Maynard Mack and Robert Penn Warren. At Columbia Law School, he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and was awarded the Jerome Michael Scholarship for academic excellence, and clerked for Professor Julius Goebel, Jr., the preeminent legal historian of our time. He is also the author of Song Without Words: Discovering My Deafness Halfway through Life. He and his wife, Claire de Gramont, live in Paris and and spend summers on the North Shore of Massachusetts.