The Silent Mind - Learning From Deafness

Nicholas Mirzoeff chronicles the struggle of deaf people for recognition and identity over the past 200 years.

Abbé Charles-Michel de l

The hearing have always known of the signs made by the deaf to communicate with each other. Plato was the first to write about sign language in Ancient Greece. During the renaissance of classical learning, Leonardo da Vinci advised artists to represent gesture:

By copying the motions of the deaf and dumb, who speak with movements of their hands and eyes and eyebrows and their whole person, in their desire to express that which is in their minds. Do not laugh at me because I propose a teacher without speech to you, for he will teach you better through facts than will all the other masters through words.

Sign language has intrigued philosophers, writers and artists ever since.

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