All we know is that she is deaf, and her father, Benjamin, is one of Europe’s most powerful champions of oralism, the belief that deaf people can be taught to speak. Oralism is sweeping through late 19th-century Europe, threatening to overturn the lives of deaf people, and making sign language redundant. David Archer, a young English journalist, is at first convinced that oralism will bring deaf people into the hearing world. But the passion of deaf people and their defence of sign language convinces him otherwise. At a public meeting in London, Benjamin Ackers, a wealthy barrister and member of British Parliament, declares that oralism has restored his daughter to hearing society. With the help of some hearing supporters, Archer decides to track her down. But the immovable forces of influence, money and power produce an unexpected result.
About Michael Uniacke
Michael Uniacke writes frequently on themes around deafness, hearing impairment and disability. He lives in Australia in Melbourne, Victoria, and in Castlemaine in central Victoria. He plays the drums, not very well, and is even worse on bass guitar.