La « véritable » histoire d’Adèle H. ?
In 1825, four years before braille was invented, Thérèse-Adèle Husson, a twenty-two-year-old woman born in a family of craftsmen and shopkeepers from the provincial city of Nancy, sent her Reflections on the physical and moral conditions of the blind to the director of the Quinze-Vingts hospital in Paris. This manuscript was the first essay by a blind woman writing about blindness in nineteenth century France; it was also the first work by Thérèse-Adèle Husson, who soon became a successful writer of several moralistic novels and essays for children. Thanks to details about her life contained in her Reflections and in the preface to one of her early books, and thanks to months of archival work, we were able to reconstruct the life of this intriguing blind woman, who died from burns in the prime of her life. Defying easy categorization, Thérèse-Adèle Husson, who urged her young readers never to marry a blind man herself, married a blind musician educated at the Royal Institute for the Blind Youth in Paris. Her complex and surprising life raises a number of questions and open up new possibilities for understanding disability, sensory perception, women, education, literature, politics and religion, in mid-nineteenth century France.
Zina Weygand, « La « véritable » histoire d’Adèle H. ? », Cahiers d'histoire [Online], 47-1 | 2002, Online since 13 May 2009, connection on 23 March 2017. URL : http://ch.revues.org/441Top of page
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