Blind Rage

Blind Rage

Letters to Helen Keller

Book - 2006
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Chicago Distribution Center

Kleege, a blind professor from UC Berkeley, reexamines the life of Helen Keller from a contemporary point of view with startling, refreshing results.

As a young blind girl, Georgina Kleege repeatedly heard the refrain, “Why can’t you be more like Helen Keller?” Kleege’s resentment culminates in her book Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller, an ingenious examination of the life of this renowned international figure using 21st-century sensibilities. Kleege’s absorption with Keller originated as an angry response to the ideal of a secular saint, which no real blind or deaf person could ever emulate. However, her investigation into the genuine person revealed that a much more complex set of characters and circumstances shaped Keller’s life.

Blind Rage employs an adroit form of creative nonfiction to review the critical junctures in Keller’s life. The simple facts about Helen Keller are well-known: how Anne Sullivan taught her deaf-blind pupil to communicate and learn; her impressive career as a Radcliffe graduate and author; her countless public appearances in various venues, from cinema to vaudeville, to campaigns for the American Foundation for the Blind. But Kleege delves below the surface to question the perfection of this image. Through the device of her letters, she challenges Keller to reveal her actual emotions, the real nature of her long relationship with Sullivan, with Sullivan’s husband, and her brief engagement to Peter Fagan. Kleege’s imaginative dramatization, distinguished by her depiction of Keller’s command of abstract sensations, gradually shifts in perspective from anger to admiration. Blind Rage criticizes the Helen Keller myth for prolonging an unrealistic model for blind people, yet it appreciates the individual who found a practical way to live despite the restrictions of her myth.

Book News
As a young blind girl, Georgina Kleege felt enormous pressure to emulate the remarkable achievements of Helen Keller. Later, as an English professor at the U. of California, Berkeley, she questioned the perfect image of this "secular saint" and undertook to uncover the story of the real Helen Keller. Using a series of letters to Keller as a literary device, she criticizes the Keller mythology that promotes an unrealistic model for blind people. Ultimately, she also expresses her genuine admiration for this complex woman who managed to make a life for herself despite the restrictions of her myth. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Washington, D.C. : Gallaudet University Press, 2006
ISBN: 9781563682957
Branch Call Number: 362.41092 K671b 2006
Characteristics: xi, 209 p. ; 23 cm

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Manateestarz Jun 21, 2017

This was a wonderfully written, rich, scathing, funny, sympathetic book that introduced me to the idea of Disability Studies.

I really learned to understand the different facets of the author's blindness.

Also a refreshing, irreverent look at HK.

A fantastic book.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at PCPL

To Top