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Woeful Afflictions: Disability and Sentimentality in Victorian America
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Woeful Afflictions: Disability and Sentimentality in Victorian America

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  5 ratings  ·  2 reviews
From Tiny Tim to Helen Keller, disabled people in the nineteenth century were portrayed in sentimental terms, as afflicted beings whose sufferings afforded ablebodied people opportunities to practice empathy and compassion. In all kinds of representations of disability, from popular fiction to the reports of institutions established for the education and rehabilitation of ...more
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published June 3rd 1999 by University of Pennsylvania Press (first published May 1999)
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J. Pearce
This book was not what I expected when I picked it up, and I strongly suspect I was not the intended audience. It is primarily about literature, and I am an historian, so I struggle a great deal with the early chapters, and never quite got into the later ones as a result.

That said, I think this book would be outstanding for people who are interested in way people with disabilities are presented in literature. Klages analyses a variety of textual sources, varying from Dickens' "The Old Curiosity
This is an interesting book that attempts to explore how disability, especially blindness, was understood or imagined by the ordinary people in Victorian America, and furthermore both how reformers, educators, and famous authors (i.e. Charles Dickens) influenced and at times changed the prevailing notions and understandings of blindness, and often were both attempting to changes meaning while at the same time caught up in assumptions of their time. The author uses a very theoretical lens of semi ...more
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