The Story of My Life (Audio) ~ Annie Sullivan (Author) Cover Art

The Story of My Life (Audio)

By: Annie Sullivan (Author), Dorothy Herrmann (Author) and Helen Keller (Author)


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Helen Keller would not be bound by conditions. Rendered deaf and blind at 19 months by scarlet fever, she learned to read (in several languages) and even speak, eventually graduating with honors from Radcliffe College in 1904, where as a student she wrote The Story of My Life. That she accomplished all of this in an age when few women attended college and the disabled were often relegated to the background, spoken of only in hushed tones, is remarkable. But Keller's many other achievements are impressive by any standard: she authored 13 books, wrote countless articles, and devoted her life to social reform. An active and effective suffragist, pacifist, and socialist (the latter association earned her an FBI file), she lectured on behalf of disabled people everywhere. She also helped start several foundations that continue to improve the lives of the deaf and blind around the world.

As a young girl Keller was obstinate, prone to fits of violence, and seething with rage at her inability to express herself. But at the age of 7 this wild child was transformed when, at the urging of Alexander Graham Bell, Anne Sullivan became her teacher, an event she declares "the most important day I remember in all my life." (Sullivan herself had once been blind, but partially recovered her sight after a series of operations.) In a memorable passage, Keller writes of the day "Teacher" led her to a stream and repeatedly spelled out the letters w-a-t-e-r on one of her hands while pouring water over the other. This method proved a revelation: "That living world awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away." And, indeed, most of them were.

In her lovingly crafted and deeply perceptive autobiography, Keller's joyous spirit is most vividly expressed in her connection to nature:

Indeed, everything that could hum, or buzz, or sing, or bloom, had a part in my education.... Few know what joy it is to feel the roses pressing softly into the hand, or the beautiful motion of the lilies as they sway in the morning breeze. Sometimes I caught an insect in the flower I was plucking, and I felt the faint noise of a pair of wings rubbed together in a sudden terror....

The idea of feeling rather than hearing a sound, or of admiring a flower's motion rather than its color, evokes a strong visceral sensation in the reader, giving The Story of My Life a subtle power and beauty. Keller's celebration of discovery becomes our own. In the end, this blind and deaf woman succeeds in sharpening our eyes and ears to the beauty of the world. --Shawn Carkonen

Short Desription

I recall my surprise on discovering that a mysterious hand had stripped the trees and bushes, leaving only here and there a wrinkled leaf. The birds had flown, and their empty nests in the bare trees were filled with snow. Winter was on hill and field. The earth seemed benumbed by his icy touch, and the very spirits of the trees had withdrawn to their roots, and there, curled up in the dark, lay fast asleep. All life seemed to have ebbed away, and even when the sun shone the day was.

THE 100th YEAR ANNIVERSARY EDITION

The Story of My Life, a remarkable account of overcoming the debilitating challenges of being both deaf and blind, has become an international classic, making Helen Keller one of the most well-known, inspirational figures in history. Originally published in 1903, Keller’s fascinating memoir narrates the events of her life up to her third year at Radcliffe College.

Helen Keller’s story of struggle and achievement is one of unquenchable hope. From tales of her difficult early days, to details of her relationship with her beloved teacher Anne Sullivan, to her impressions of academic life, Keller’s honest, straightforward writing lends insight into an amazing mind. Like the original, this centenary edition of The Story of My Life includes letters Keller wrote to friends throughout her childhood and adolescence that chronicle her intellectual and sensory progression, as well as assistant John Macy’s commentary on her interpretations of her surroundings.

In addition to reprinting Keller’s long-lost original work, this edition contains excerpts from her little-known, deeply personal memoir The World We Live In, which give readers a detailed look into an otherwise unimaginable existence, as well as an excerpt from Out of the Dark, a political commentary Keller wrote during her years as a socialist.

Deftly edited and prefaced by scholar James Berger, this comprehensive anniversary edition celebrates a century of readers’ enthrallment with one of the most powerful figures in history.


From the Hardcover edition.



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