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The Story of My Life [Anglais] [Poche]

Helen Keller
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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Chapter I

It is with a kind of fear that I begin to write the history of my life. I have, as it were, a superstitious hesitation in lifting the veil that clings about my childhood like a golden mist. The task of writing an autobiography is a difficult one. When I try to classify my earliest impressions, I find that fact and fancy look alike across the years that link the past with the present. The woman paints the child's experiences in her own fantasy. A few impressions stand out vividly from the first years of my life; but "the shadows of the prison-house are on the rest." Besides, many of the joys and sorrows of childhood have lost their poignancy; and many incidents of vital importance in my early education have been forgotten in the excitement of great discoveries. In order, therefore, not to be tedious I shall try to present in a series of sketches only the episodes that seem to me to be the most interesting and important.

I was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, a little town of northern Alabama.

The family on my father's side is descended from Caspar Keller, a native of Switzerland, who settled in Maryland. One of my Swiss ancestors was the first teacher of the deaf in Zurich and wrote a book on the subject of their education-rather a singular coincidence; though it is true that there is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his.

My grandfather, Caspar Keller's son, "entered" large tracts of land in Alabama and finally settled there. I have been told that once a year he went from Tuscumbia to Philadelphia on horseback to purchase supplies for the plantation, and my aunt has in her possession many of the letters to his family, which give charming and vivid accounts of these trips.

My Grandmother Keller was a daughter of one of Lafayette's aides, Alexander Moore, and granddaughter of Alexander Spotswood, an early Colonial Governor of Virginia. She was also second cousin to Robert E. Lee.

My father, Arthur H. Keller, was a captain in the Confederate Army, and my mother, Kate Adams, was his second wife and many years younger. Her grandfather, Benjamin Adams, married Susanna E. Goodhue, and lived in Newbury, Massachusetts, for many years. Their son, Charles Adams, was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and moved to Helena, Arkansas. When the Civil War broke out, he fought on the side of the South and became a brigadier-general. He married Lucy Helen Everett, who belonged to the same family of Everetts as Edward Everett and Dr. Edward Everett Hale. After the war was over the family moved to Memphis, Tennessee.

I lived, up to the time of the illness that deprived me of my sight and hearing, in a tiny house consisting of a large square room and a small one, in which the servant slept. It is a custom in the South to build a small house near the homestead as an annex to be used on occasion. Such a house my father built after the Civil War, and when he married my mother they went to live in it. It was completely covered with vines, climbing roses and honeysuckles. From the garden it looked like an arbour. The little porch was hidden from view by a screen of yellow roses and Southern smilax. It was the favourite haunt of humming-birds and bees.

The Keller homestead, where the family lived, was a few steps from our little rose-bower. It was called "Ivy Green" because the house and the surrounding trees and fences were covered with beautiful English ivy. Its old-fashioned garden was the paradise of my childhood.

Even in the days before my teacher came, I used to feel along the square stiff boxwood hedges, and, guided by the sense of smell, would find the first violets and lilies. There, too, after a fit of temper, I went to find comfort and to hide my hot face in the cool leaves and grass. What joy it was to lose myself in that garden of flowers, to wander happily from spot to spot, until, coming suddenly upon a beautiful vine, I recognized it by its leaves and blossoms, and knew it was the vine which covered the tumble-down summer-house at the farther end of the garden! Here, also, were trailing clematis, drooping jessamine, and some rare sweet flowers called butterfly lilies, because their fragile petals resemble butterflies' wings. But the roses-they were loveliest of all. Never have I found in the greenhouses of the North such heart-satisfying roses as the climbing roses of my southern home. They used to hang in long festoons from our porch, filling the whole air with their fragrance, untainted by any earthy smell; and in the early morning, washed in the dew, they felt so soft, so pure, I could not help wondering if they did not resemble the asphodels of God's garden.

The beginning of my life was simple and much like every other little life. I came, I saw, I conquered, as the first baby in the family always does. There was the usual amount of discussion as to a name for me. The first baby in the family was not to be lightly named, every one was emphatic about that. My father suggested the name of Mildred Campbell, an ancestor whom he highly esteemed, and he declined to take any further part in the discussion. My mother solved the problem by giving it as her wish that I should be called after her mother, whose maiden name was Helen Everett. But in the excitement of carrying me to church my father lost the name on the way, very naturally, since it was one in which he had declined to have a part. When the minister asked him for it, he just remembered that it had been decided to call me after my grandmother, and he gave her name as Helen Adams.

I am told that while I was still in long dresses I showed many signs of an eager, self-asserting disposition. Everything that I saw other people do I insisted upon imitating. At six months I could pipe out "How d'ye," and one day I attracted every one's attention by saying "Tea, tea, tea" quite plainly. Even after my illness I remembered one of the words I had learned in these early months. It was the word "water," and I continued to make some sound for that word after all other speech was lost. I ceased making the sound "wah-wah" only when I learned to spell the word.

They tell me I walked the day I was a year old. My mother had just taken me out of the bath-tub and was holding me in her lap, when I was suddenly attracted by the flickering shadows of leaves that danced in the sunlight on the smooth floor. I slipped from my mother's lap and almost ran toward them. The impulse gone, I fell down and cried for her to take me up in her arms.

These happy days did not last long. One brief spring, musical with the song of robin and mockingbird, one summer rich in fruit and roses, one autumn of gold and crimson sped by and left their gifts at the feet of an eager, delighted child. Then, in the dreary month of February, came the illness which closed my eyes and ears and plunged me into the unconsciousness of a new-born baby. They called it acute congestion of the stomach and brain.1 The doctor thought I could not live. Early one morning, however, the fever left me as suddenly and mysteriously as it had come. There was great rejoicing in the family that morning, but no one, not even the doctor, knew that I should never see or hear again.

I fancy I still have confused recollections of that illness. I especially remember the tenderness with which my mother tried to soothe me in my waking hours of fret and pain, and the agony and bewilderment with which I awoke after a tossing half sleep, and turned my eyes, so dry and hot, to the wall, away from the once-loved light, which came to me dim and yet more dim each day. But, except for these fleeting memories, if, indeed, they be memories, it all seems very unreal, like a nightmare. Gradually I got used to the silence and darkness that surrounded me and forgot that it had ever been different, until she came-my teacher-who was to set my spirit free. But during the first nineteen months of my life I had caught glimpses of broad, green fields, a luminous sky, trees and flowers which the darkness that followed could not wholly blot out. If we have once seen, "the day is ours, and what the day has shown."


From the Hardcover edition.

Revue de presse

“The greatest woman of our age.”
Winston Churchill

“Helen Keller is fellow to Caesar, Alexander, Napoleon, Homer, Shakespeare, and the rest of the immortals. . . . She will be as famous a thousand years from now as she is today.”
Mark Twain


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Poche: 240 pages
  • Editeur : Bantam Classics; Édition : Reissue (1 mai 1990)
  • Collection : A Bantam classic
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0553213873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553213874
  • Dimensions du produit: 17,3 x 10,4 x 1,5 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 22.565 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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4.0 étoiles sur 5
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 De l'ombre à la lumière 13 décembre 2011
Par tabare27 COMMENTATEUR DU HALL D'HONNEUR TOP 10 COMMENTATEURS
Format:Broché
Un livre merveilleux, écrit par la même Helen Keller, dans un style qui vous émerveille, vous entraîne, , vous donne des ailes. Mark Twain, l'écrivain américain, dixit que les 2 personnages les plus intéressants du XIXème siècle étaient Napoléon et Helen Keller, et en lisant son autobiographie, on comprend pourquoi. A cause d'une congestion maligne du cerveau ,( la rubéole?) selon les critères du médecin de l'époque, elle est devenu sourde , muette et aveugle, restant dans l'obscurité total jusqu'à l'âge de 7 ans. Un médecin des sourds muets, Alexandre Graham Bell conseille à son père de s'adresser à L'institut Perkins pour demander de l'aide, et ce fut le début de sa renaissance. Anni Sullivan travaillait à l'Institut Perkins et avait suivi une formation s'inspirant des travaux du Dr.Howe, qui avait enseigné à lire à Laura Bridgman, dont la rubéole lui avait perdre l'ouïe, l'odorat,la vue et le goût. Avec ce bagage intellectuel, Annie Sullivan devient l'enseignante de Helen Keller, dont elle découvre les capacités , la sortant de sa vie de sauvageonne ,la conduisant de l'ombre à la lumière. Guidée par une intuition hors normes, une empathie à toute épreuve, elle guidera son élève à accomplir ce que personne n'aurait pu penser possible: lire, écrire, faires des études universitaires, faisant jaillir son génie. Lire la suite ›
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The story of my life 29 mai 2012
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
The first part of Helen Keller's story was very interesting but the latter part consisted mostly of correspondence with friends and relatives. These gave a good impression of what she achieved in life but I felt there were just too many. After a while I began to lose interest which was a shame as Helen was a very remarkable woman. Her spirit and tenacity against all odds and that of her devoted teacher is still to be very much admired.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 L'histoire d'Hélène Keller est passionnante 4 juillet 2014
Par Jérémy
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Une personnalité hors du commun, et pas seulement à cause de son handicap, mais aussi par sa grande intelligence et sa volonté d'apprendre. Je l'ai découverte grâce au film "Miracle en Alabama" qui retrace la façon dont elle a appris à communiquer grâce au sens du toucher. Ce film donnait envie d'en savoir plus et ce livre qui rend aussi hommage à son institutrice devenue son amie permet de découvrir la suite...Pour qui lit l'anglais.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  117 commentaires
79 internautes sur 79 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An extraordinary woman; an inspiring story 28 octobre 2001
Par Michael J. Mazza - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
Helen Keller (1880-1968) is a revered figure in American popular culture. Struck deaf and blind by illness at the age of 19 months, she still managed to get an education and become a writer and activist. Her story was further popularized by William Gibson's play "The Miracle Worker," which was also adapted for both film and television.
Keller's autobiography, "The Story of My Life," first appeared in installments in "Ladies' Home Journal" in 1902. This book is truly one of the great American autobiographies: an inspiring story of a courageous individual who overcame tremendous odds.
Keller writes about many things: her childhood in Alabama; her relationship with her beloved teacher, Anne Sullivan; her attendance at the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York City; and meeting such eminent figures as Mark Twain. She especially stresses her love of literature, which she describes as "my Utopia."
Along the way are some fascinating details and profoundly moving passages. Her tribute to the Homer, the blind poet of ancient Greece, is particularly powerful. I also loved her interpretation of the biblical Book of Ruth: a story of "love which can rise above conflicting creeds and deep-seated racial prejudices."
I think that many will regard Keller's autobiography as a mere historical or sociological document. But I think the book deserves a place as a great work of literature, and moreover as a work of literature in the great American tradition. Keller's poetic, often sensuous words about the natural world are comparable to the work of Emily Dickinson. And her stirring account of her revelatory awareness of language reminds me of Frederick Douglass' account of his first awareness of the power of literacy. The book as a whole is enhanced by Keller's charming, likeable literary style.
"The Story of My Life" is a wonderful book by an amazing individual. Helen Keller still has, I believe, much to say to contemporary audiences.
87 internautes sur 93 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I had the destinct pleasure of meeting Ms. Keller personally 8 mai 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I was about 8 years old, my grandmother had a "bed and breakfast" type of house in Garmisch, Germany, I was on my way home from school and had picked some flowers for her "B & B" tables, when I saw a lady with awhite cane, I gave her the flowers which I had picked for my grandma, The lady to whom I gave the flowers was Ms. Keller, the lady accompanying her was Ms. Sullivan. The next day, my teacher at school asked me to her office. Thinking that I was in trouble (again) I was worried about what was going on. She asked me where I had met Helen Keller; To which I replied "Helen who??" , She then explained to me who Helen Keller was. My grandmother and I then were invited to one of the finer hotels in Garmisch to have dinner with Ms Keller and Ms Sullivan. At which time she presented me with a hardcover of her book "The story of my life". What I belive makes this book special is the fact that Ms Keller wrote a note to me In GERMAN, she wrote: "An meiner kleine freund der meine hand froh machte mit 'Primrosen', eine botschft from fruehling mit liebe Helen Keller" In rough translation: "To my little friend, who made my hand happy with a message of spring with love Hellen Keller". This book is most certainly one of my most price posessions.
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 An Amazing Woman! 3 août 2003
Par Nelson Aspen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
The miraculous Helen Keller and her equally astounding teacher, Annie Sullivan, go into great detail of their struggles to overcome Helen's grave disabilities. It is so astounding, in fact, that it's almost incomprehensible. Helen's amazing mental ability, Annie's guidance and their mutual tenacity are surely to be credited.
It is a wonderful story to read, especially so because it is told BY them and not as interpreted by a third-party biographer.
Unfortunately, Helen's eloquence and the prose of the day can border on the flowery side (to be it mildly) which made me unable to push through as quickly as I might have otherwise.
But then again, that's the beauty of her success story: it WASN'T too good to be true!
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Autobiography by a Deafblind Author 5 août 2005
Par Gillian Buchanan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
This book is Helen Keller's autobiography and is somewhat unusual because Helen Keller was deafblind. It is beautifully written and although I don't necessary agree with all the conclusions drawn by the author of the introduction, I found the autobiography very moving to read. Much of the time Helen wrote in a way that you would not realise she could neither see nor hear anything around her.

The fact that Miss Keller was not deaf from birth but became deafblind as a very small child following an illness makes her achievements particularly incredible. She had to re-learn her communication skills and this is due in no small part to her teacher and mentor, Annie Sullivan. Miss Keller came from a wealthy family who were prepared to go to endless lengths to help their daughter to live a fulfilling life, and it is thanks to them and to Miss Sullivan that we have Miss Keller's writings and pioneering work for deaf and deafblind people.

This is an incredible book to read and it also provides some interesting cameos of some of the people Miss Keller met (such as Mark Twain) because her letters are included at the end.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Have you ever been deaf while Helen Keller has 7 juin 2005
L'évaluation d'un enfant - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
Its a miracle!

Helen was deaf, but she learned how to read with her fingers.

When she was younger she got an illness that when it went away it took her sight and hearing with it around 19 she learned how to read Bridal books thanks to her teacher, and my best friend Anna Sulivan that also taught her the combination of water from a pump on one hand and the spelling of "water" in the manuel alphabet into her other hand. I think that she message sent to you would be that its not bad being deaf, your just like a person beside that you cant hear or talk nor see.

Helen Keller wrote this book to show and to tell you about her life.

The quote "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much" it means that for Helen Keller she would have took a long time to learn how to read but she had people that helped her all together so they did so much to help her.

I would recommend this book to girls and boys; women and gentleman between the age of 11 to 35. It is really a good book.
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