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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: and Reconciliation Romance by Travis Montgomery The 1903 Doubleday, Page, and Co. edition of contains several photographs of Keller with prominent Americans.1 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 complements her efforts to fashion herself as a national hero in The Story of My Life (hereafter Story). In this narrative, Keller follows the Franklinian pattern, 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 distinctly "American" text, which exhibits models of selfhood 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 E. Lee" (13). Here, Keller links herself not only to the patrician class of antebellum Virginians but also to the 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 © University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
1534-1461
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Abstract

Radicalizing Reunion: and Reconciliation Romance by Travis Montgomery The 1903 Doubleday, Page, and Co. edition of contains several photographs of Keller with prominent Americans.1 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 complements her efforts to fashion herself as a national hero in The Story of My Life (hereafter Story). In this narrative, Keller follows the Franklinian pattern, 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 distinctly "American" text, which exhibits models of selfhood 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 E. Lee" (13). Here, Keller links herself not only to the patrician class of antebellum Virginians but also to the

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jul 4, 2010

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