There Plant Eyes

by Author M Leona Godin

  • Publisher Pantheon
  • Year published 2021
  • ISBN: ISBN 978-1524748715
  • Number of pages 352 pages
  • WorldCat

There Plant Eyes book cover
About the Book
Book description

A probing, witty, and deeply insightful history of blindness - in Western culture and literature, and in the author's own experience - that ranges from Homer to Milton to Braille to Stevie Wonder. M. Leona Godin begins her fascinating, wide-ranging study with an exploration of how the idea of sight is inextricably linked with knowledge and understanding; how "blindness" has, for millennia, been used as a metaphor for ignorance; and how, in metaphorical terms, blindness can also be made to suggest a door to artistic or spiritual transcendence. And she makes clear how all of this has obscured the reality of blindness, as a consequence of which many blind people have to deal not just with their disability but also with expectations of "specialness." Godin illuminates the often surprising history of both the physiological condition and of the ideas that have attached to it. She incorporates analysis of blindness in art and literature (from King Lear to Star Wars) and in culture (assumptions of the blind as pure and magically wise) with the science of blindness and key developments in accessibility (the white cane, seeing eye dogs, eBooks), and with her own experience of gradually losing sight over the course of three decades. Altogether, she gives us a revelation of the centrality of blindness and vision to humanity's understanding of itself and the world. ebook icon Audio book icon

M Leona Godin photo
About the Author
Author description

M. Leona Godin (pronounced like French sculptor Rodin) is a writer, performer, educator, and the author of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural history of Blindness (Pantheon, 2021). Her writing has appeared in The New York TimesPlayboyO MagazineElectric LiteratureCatapult, and other print and online publications. She produced two plays: “The Star of Happiness” about Helen Keller’s time performing in vaudeville, and “The Spectator and the Blind Man,” about the invention of braille. Godin holds a PhD in English, and besides her many years teaching literature and humanities courses at NYU, she has lectured on art, accessibility, technology, and disability at such places as Tandon School of Engineering, Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, and the American Printing House for the Blind. Her online magazine exploring the arts and sciences of smell and taste, Aromatica Poetica, publishes writing and art from around the world.


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