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The Education of Laura Bridgman By Ernest Freeberg

The Education of Laura Bridgman
by Ernest Freeberg

In Stock
£19.99
In the mid-19th century, philosophers, theologians, and educators hailed Laura Bridgman as a miracle because she was the first deaf and blind person to learn language. Her life was transformed by educational crusader Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe. Freeberg tells this extraordinary tale of mentor and student, scientist and experiment.
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The Education of Laura Bridgman Summary


The Education of Laura Bridgman: First Deaf and Blind Person to Learn Language by Ernest Freeberg

In the mid-nineteenth century, Laura Bridgman, a young child from New Hampshire, became one of the most famous women in the world. Philosophers, theologians, and educators hailed her as a miracle, and a vast public followed the intimate details of her life with rapt attention. This girl, all but forgotten today, was the first deaf and blind person ever to learn language. Laura's dark and silent life was transformed when she became the star pupil of the educational crusader Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe. Against the backdrop of an antebellum Boston seething with debates about human nature, programs of moral and educational reform, and battles between conservative and liberal Christians, Freeberg tells this extraordinary tale of mentor and student, scientist and experiment. Under Howe's constant tutelage, Laura voraciously absorbed the world around her, learning to communicate through finger language, as well as to write with confidence. Her remarkable breakthroughs vindicated Howe's faith in the power of education to overcome the most terrible of disabilities. In Howe's hands, Laura's education became an experiment that he hoped would prove his own controversial ideas about the body, mind, and soul. Poignant and hopeful, The Education of Laura Bridgman is both a success story of how a sightless and soundless girl gained contact with an ever-widening world, and also a cautionary tale about the way moral crusades and scientific progress can compromise each other. Anticipating the life of Helen Keller a half-century later, Laura's is a pioneering story of the journey from isolation to accomplishment, as well as a window onto what it means to be human under the most trying conditions.

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The Education of Laura Bridgman Reviews


[Freeberg describes] Bridgman's education firmly in the context of the social reform, educational, and religious movements of the time...Freeberg emphasizes educational and philosophical theory...[and reveals] as much about the motives of her teachers and the intellectual climate of the time as...about Bridgman herself...Accessible and engaging. -- Patricia A. Beaber Library Journal 20010401 Freeberg...focuses in great detail on the scientific, theological and social debates of the day. He expertly details Howe's specific methods, influenced by liberal Unitarianism and phrenology, which turned "Laura's education into a showcase of 'moral discipline'" so that he "might glean insights into the fundamental forces that shape human nature." He gives a marvelous, incisive explanantion of Howe's reluctance to teach Laura about religion early on, allowing her to arrive at her own innate understanding of God--a plan that infuriated orthodox Calvinists who wanted to save her from original sin and that was ultimately foiled by Laura's insatiable curiosity and the interference of religious do-gooders...Ultimately, Freeberg presents an exhaustive and intriguing narrative, championing mid-1800s progressivism and one man's efforts to use it effectively. Readers interested in a straightforward yet subtle social history will delight in Freeberg's moderately paced...approach. Publishers Weekly 20010423 Freeberg delivers a...compelling perspective of [Laura Bridgman's] life and education at Boston's Perkins Institution for the Blind. -- Brian Wilder Boston Magazine 20010522 There was a time in the 1840's when a bright, difficult but above all tragically afflicted girl named Laura Bridgman was one of the most famous people in the world...Bridgman has long been forgotten, overshadowed in the public memory by the more brilliant and articulate Helen Keller...If we had only the story of Bridgman and how she mastered language, including abstract language, that would already be interesting enough. [The Education of Laura Bridgman] provides a lucid explanation of the philosophical and religious stakes involved, an explanation that goes back to the pioneering explorations of human nature in 16th- and 17th-century Europe by Descartes, Locke, the Earl of Shaftsbury and others. -- Richard Bernstein New York Times 20010521 Against the backdrop of an antebellum Boston seething with debates about human nature, programs of moral and educational reform, and battles between conservative and liberal Christians, Freeberg weaves an extraordinary tale of mentor and student, scientist and subject. Poignant and hopeful, The Education of Laura Bridgman is both a success story of how a sightless and soundless girl gained contact with an everwidening world, and also a cautionary tale about the way moral crusades and scientific progress can compromise each other. Anticipating the life of Helen Keller a half-century later, Laura's is a pioneering story of the journey from isolation to accomplishment, as well as a window onto what it means to be human under the most trying conditions. African Sun Times 20010823 The disabled have rarely received historical recognition. Freeberg offers an important corrective. Born in 1829 in New Hampshire, Laura Bridgman contracted scarlet fever at the age of two and lost her sight and hearing. Her tragic fate would have remained outside historical notice had not a doctor named Samuel Gridley Howe heard about her and brought her to his Boston school for blind children...[Laura] became the first deaf and blind child in [Howe's] care, and he took great interest in her education...Freeberg's rich narrative offers readers Laura's story within the larger social context of mid-19th-century New England. -- J. Sochen Choice 20011201

About Ernest Freeberg


Ernest Freeberg is Associate Professor of History at the University of Tennessee.

Table of Contents


* Introduction *1. In Quest of His Prize *2. Mind over Matter *3. In the Public Eye *4. Body and Mind *5. The Instinct to Be Good *6. Punishing Thoughts *7. Sensing God *8. Crisis *9. Disillusionment *10. A New Theory of Human Nature *11. My Sunny Home *12. Legacy * Abbreviations * Notes * Acknowledgments * Index

Additional information

GOR009942430
The Education of Laura Bridgman: First Deaf and Blind Person to Learn Language by Ernest Freeberg
Ernest Freeberg
Used - Very Good
Paperback
Harvard University Press
2002-10-01
272
0674010051
9780674010055
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.