Seeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf

Seeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf

by Oliver Sacks, Oliver Sacks


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Like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, this is a fascinating voyage into a strange and wonderful land, a provocative meditation on communication, biology, adaptation, and culture.  In Seeing Voices, Oliver Sacks turns his attention to the subject of deafness, and the result is a deeply felt portrait of a minority struggling for recognition and respect--a minority with its own rich, sometimes astonishing, culture and unique visual language, an extraordinary mode of communication that tells us much about the basis of language in hearing people as well. Seeing Voices is, as Studs Terkel has written, "an exquisite, as well as revelatory, work."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375704079
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/28/2000
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 163,495
Product dimensions: 5.22(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Oliver Sacks was a neurologist, writer, and professor of medicine. Born in London in 1933, he moved to New York City in 1965, where he launched his medical career and began writing case studies of his patients. Called the “poet laureate of medicine” by The New York Times, Sacks is the author of thirteen books, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia, and Awakenings, which inspired an Oscar-nominated film and a play by Harold Pinter. He was the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, and was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2008 for services to medicine. He died in 2015.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

London, England


B.M., B.Ch., Queen's College, Oxford, 1958

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Seeing Voices: A Journey Into the World of the Deaf 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
Most of the information that we get about the world comes through the sense of sight. Therefore it would seem that it there is one sense that we would be loath to part with, it would be this one. And yet, it is the sense of hearing that has the greatest impact on the acquisition of language and subsequently on the formation of our minds. If we don't acquire language really early on in our lives, we are bound to lead a very limited existence as compared to most other people. It is these facts and some other very deep and important ones that I was able to gather from this Oliver Sacks book. It really opened my mind to the world of deaf people in a profoundly different way. Sacks documents various attempts over the last few centuries to give deaf people a chance to acquire a sign language, and different approaches to the education of the deaf. The book also opened my eyes to the fact that the sign language is a real language, qualitatively and profoundly different from simple gesticulations and gestures that we engage on a daily basis in our regular communications. In fact, the sign language is in one sense much more complex than the regular spoken language. One can argue that the spoken language is one-dimensional - it consists of sounds of different pitch and duration in time. On the other hand, the sign language is four-dimensional - it employs all three dimensions of space to create various hand configurations and adds an extra layer in the form of motion. One of the greatest features of Olives Sacks' writing is the highly sophisticated and literary style that he employs. I would love reading his books even if he were describing the content of a box of cereal. We are fortunate that his writing brilliance is matched with the vast knowledge and expertise that he has in neuroscience. It is this incredible combination of writing and scientific talent that makes each of his books a masterpiece.
Knicke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Never met a Sacks I didn't like - this one is no exception, although I really wish the extensive notes had been footnoted and not crammed at the end like an unusually important epilogue. Quite a bit here that I knew about (had a few friends, Deaf and hearing both, who were part of the Deaf community growing up), but much that I didn't. One interesting/heartbreaking bit? How Sign was initially adopted and then abandoned until recently. Best stuff? The examination of the linguistics and neurology of Sign - very cool.
dahabdabbler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am fascinated by all of Oliver Sacks' work!!
ashishg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book is insightful about sign language and languages in general with great information about how brain processes language and information. However, language is very technical so much so that this resembles a research paper (and is written in same style as well) rather than a popular public work. Very difficult to comprehend and heavy to read. I couldn't finish.
wester on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Deafness and sign language are used in this book to comment on language, culture and humanity. A very interesting read, even when you're not particularly interested in deafness in itself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago