Deaf geographies, and other worlds.

1835 Deaf Banquets – Translation available

The initial translation of the 1835 de l’Epée anniversary banquet is now ready. You’ll find it at https://mikegulliver.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/1835-bilingual.pdf

The 1836 banquet may be a little while as I have nothing pre-prepared and so have to start from scratch.

In the meantime, I’ll try and set up a page for this, so all of the banquet documents become available from one place.

1835 was probably the height of what we might call the ‘religious period’ of the Banquets – Berthier, in particular, leans on the divine mission of de l’Epée and identifies the Deaf community as something of a ‘holy priesthood’, ‘called’ out by election.

There are distinct parallels with the biblical calling of the ‘Church’ – see 1 Peter 2:9 and an uncomfortably gushing (at least to our 21st century sensitivities) proposal to set up a fund to purchase a bust of de l’Epée – which would then preside over the banquets year on year.

Remember though, this is the 19th century – and only the 2nd year of the banquets, and the Deaf community were still playing with the question of “Who are we?” – particularly within the context of wider, hearing, French society.

From 1836, political movements in and around the Deaf community – particularly with regards to the management of the Paris School, moved the vision away from the religious and towards a much more ‘citizenship-based’ discourse.

Anyway – I hope you enjoy this… more to come soon.


9 comments on “1835 Deaf Banquets – Translation available

  1. handeyes
    June 14, 2012

    the attached document is tres bien. merci

    really it is so important u r doing this. also appreciate ur note and context here

    keep going



  2. Mike Gulliver
    June 14, 2012

    Bienvenu 🙂

  3. dagrushkin
    June 14, 2012

    Curious — why do you, in your translations, choose to retain the French term sourds-muets intact?

    • Mike Gulliver
      June 15, 2012

      Hi Don,

      I’m going to post something on this in the main blog – but it comes from trying to answer the essential question: “How do you translated something that was borrowed from LSF into French in 1835, into English in 2012?”

      Essentially, in 1835, hearing people called those who were deaf and couldn’t speak – “sourd et muet” [deaf and mute]

      Deaf people who couldn’t talk (or preferred not to) called themselves, in sign, “DEAF MUTE” – which they then transliterated into French as “sourd-muet”

      They also had “sourd-parlant” for “DEAF SPEAKS” – and those people were full members of the Deaf community as far as we can tell.

      Now, bring that to 2012, through the Oralist/Audist conflation of ‘deaf/dumb/silent/mute’, and the corresponding Deaf differentiation (done differently here from in the UK) of ‘Deaf/deaf’ and lines drawn between those deaf people who can and can’t speak – or do and don’t want to… and you have a classic translation hot-potato.

      In my dissertation, I found there was *no* term available from modern English and so used the direct capitalised ‘DEAF’ to refer to “anyone that Deaf people say is Deaf” – but that is hard to explain in an historical translation.

      I’ve tended, towards the end of the 1835 document, to go back to ‘deaf-mute’ because that would seem to be the most historically direct equivalent – but it’s still an open question.

      I guess my key concern in bringing the banquets to a wider audience is to critically expose areas of debate that have so far been hidden, so it’s a critical success of my project that I don’t “write in” easy interpretations into the sources…

      But it does make for some loose ends…

      • dagrushkin
        June 16, 2012

        You have any citations (or writings of your own) on that sourds-parlant /muets thing? This ties into something I’m working on at the moment as well.

      • Mike Gulliver
        June 16, 2012


        I do – I’ll have to dig them out on Monday, but my PhD has a section on it.

        I also have a document written by Berthier himself in about 1850 that explores the issue of how to portray Deaf people in French print… it’s not massively long, but it’ll need you to deal with the French – unless I translate it for you?


      • Mike Gulliver
        June 18, 2012

        Don, Take a look at sections 1.4 and 2.3.3 (particularly pages 58-60) of http://deafspace.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/mike-gulliver-phd.pdf

        The Berthier (1873) reference is an addendum note on Berthier’s book on Sicard. I’ll translate it and include it in the blog post, should be there later today or tomorrow.

        Any more info on this, mail me direct – mike.gulliver@bristol.ac.uk

        Hope this helps.

      • Don G.
        June 19, 2012

        Thanks for the info and the copy of the diss., Mike. I wish I’d been able to convert my diss. to a modern format…. if I want to upload mine, I’d have to manually scan the whole thing first — ugh.

  4. Mike Gulliver
    June 15, 2012

    Sorry – I should have said “done differently here from in the US” as I am, actually, in the UK!

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on June 14, 2012 by in DEAF history.
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