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Radicalizing Reunion: Helen Keller's The Story of My Life and Reconciliation Romance

Radicalizing Reunion: Helen Keller's The Story of My Life and Reconciliation Romance Radicalizing Reunion: Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life and Reconciliation Romance by Travis Montgomery The 1903 Doubleday, Page, and Co. edition of Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life contains several photographs of Keller with promi- nent Americans. The last photograph in the book is a picture of Helen Keller and Mark Twain, arguably the most famous American of his time. This image reinforces Keller’s status as a cultural icon, and it comple- ments her efforts to fashion herself as a national hero in The Story of My Life (hereafter Story). In this narrative, Keller follows the Franklinian pat- tern, portraying herself as a self- made individual who, through industry and self- reliance, conquered personal hardship and became a national celebrity. In so doing, she invites her readers to consider her work a dis- tinctly “American” text, which exhibits models of self hood established in the nation’s autobiographical traditions. Yet, while Story shows Keller to be a prototypical American, it also reveals her peculiarly southern roots, which Keller continually plays up. In the first chapter, she claims that her paternal grandmother was a “granddaughter of Alexander Spotswood, an early colonial governor of Virginia,” and “second cousin to Robert http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Radicalizing Reunion: Helen Keller's The Story of My Life and Reconciliation Romance

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 42 (2) – Jul 4, 2010

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2010 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Radicalizing Reunion: Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life and Reconciliation Romance by Travis Montgomery The 1903 Doubleday, Page, and Co. edition of Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life contains several photographs of Keller with promi- nent Americans. The last photograph in the book is a picture of Helen Keller and Mark Twain, arguably the most famous American of his time. This image reinforces Keller’s status as a cultural icon, and it comple- ments her efforts to fashion herself as a national hero in The Story of My Life (hereafter Story). In this narrative, Keller follows the Franklinian pat- tern, portraying herself as a self- made individual who, through industry and self- reliance, conquered personal hardship and became a national celebrity. In so doing, she invites her readers to consider her work a dis- tinctly “American” text, which exhibits models of self hood established in the nation’s autobiographical traditions. Yet, while Story shows Keller to be a prototypical American, it also reveals her peculiarly southern roots, which Keller continually plays up. In the first chapter, she claims that her paternal grandmother was a “granddaughter of Alexander Spotswood, an early colonial governor of Virginia,” and “second cousin to Robert

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jul 4, 2010

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