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Descripción de editorial
A moving portrait of Anne Sullivan Macy, teacher of Helen Keller—and a complex, intelligent woman worthy of her own spotlight
After many years, historian and Helen Keller expert Kim Nielsen realized that she and her peers had failed Anne Sullivan Macy. While Macy is remembered primarily as Helen Keller's teacher and a straightforward educational superhero, the real story of this brilliant, complex, and misunderstood woman has never been completely told. Beyond the Miracle Worker seeks to correct this oversight, presenting a new tale about the wounded but determined woman and her quest for a successful, meaningful life.
Born in 1866 to poverty-stricken Irish immigrants, Macy suffered part of her childhood in the Massachusetts State Almshouse at Tewksbury. Seeking escape, in love with literature, and profoundly stubborn, she successfully fought to gain an education at the Perkins School for the Blind. She went on to teach Helen Keller, who became a loyal and lifelong friend. As Macy floundered with her own blindness, ill health, depression, and marital strife in her later years, she came to lean on her former student for emotional, physical, and economic support.
Based on privately held primary source material—including materials at both the American Foundation for the Blind and the Perkins School for the Blind—Beyond the Miracle Worker is revelatory and absorbing, unraveling one of the best known and least understood friendships of the twentieth century.
After writing two books about Helen Keller, historian Nielsen (The Radical Lives of Helen Keller) vowed she "would never again write anything even remotely related to her." Fortunately, she couldn't help herself: upon reviewing the letters of Keller's teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy, Nielsen "became convinced had shortchanged the woman known only as the teacher of Helen Keller." Through Sullivan's correspondence and notes, Nielsen remedies this lack with a "lightly fictionalized" autobiography drawing on the written impressions of Keller and others. Nielsen devotedly chronicles Sullivan's emergence as an opinionated and intelligent if troubled woman who was born poor, afflicted early on with a debilitating eye disease and abandoned to an almshouse after her mother's death. Luck and innate ability plucked her out of the asylum and placed her in the classroom. But Nielsen concedes that Sullivan's relationship with Keller took center stage in both the public consciousness and private life. Citing historical uncertainty, Nielsen self-consciously skims over Sullivan's early teaching methods, including that iconic moment at the water pump the very moment we all wonder about. 4 b&w photos.