Join us on Friday, June 4 at 6pm PT when M. Leona Godin joins us to discuss her book, There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness, with Maggie Nelson on Zoom!
ASL Interpretation will be provided
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Praise for There Plant Eyes
“There Plant Eyes is so graceful, so wise, so effortlessly erudite, I learned something new and took pleasure in every page. All hail its originality, its humanity, and its ‘philosophical obsession with diversity in all its complicated and messy glory.’” —Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts
“This sighted disabled person learned so much from There Plant Eyes! The book took me on a cultural journey that showed how blindness isbeautiful, complex, and brilliant.” —Alice Wong, editor of Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-first Century
“Godin moves effortlessly from erudite explorations of the construction of ‘blindness’ to incisive and often funny examinations of technology that helps—or does not help—the blind individual to personal stories of her own life. I was only a few pages in before I realized that what I thought about being blind was either wrong or woefully insufficient. The reader will be lost in admiration for Godin’s gifts as a writer and cultural critic.” —Riva Lehrer, author of Golem Girl: A Memoir
About There Plant Eyes
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 and Milton to Louis Braille, Helen Keller, and 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 that they possess “superpowers.”
Godin illuminates the often surprising history of both the physiological condition and the ideas that have attached to it. She incorporates an analysis of blindness in art and literature (from King Lear to Star Wars) and culture (assumptions of the blind as pure and magically wise) with a study of the science of blindness and key developments in accessibility (the white cane, embossed printing, digital technology) and a recounting of her own experience of gradually losing sight over the course of three decades. Altogether, Godin gives us a revelation of the centrality of blindness and vision to humanity’s understanding of itself and the world.
The digital audiobook version of There Plant Eyes is available here from our partner Libro.fm.
From Homer to Helen Keller, from Dune to Stevie Wonder, from the invention of braille to the science of echolocation, M. Leona Godin explores the fascinating history of blindness, interweaving it with her own story of gradually losing her sight.
“[A] thought-provoking mixture of criticism, memoir, and advocacy." —The New Yorker
Since 2009, when it first published, to today, Bluets has drawn scores of readers with its surprising insights into the emotional depths that make us most human--via 240 short pieces, at once lyrical and philosophical, on the color blue.