Synopses & Reviews
For more than a quarter of a century, Ildefonso, a Mexican Indian, lived in total isolation, set apart from the rest of the world. He wasn't a political prisoner or a social recluse, he was simply born deaf and had never been taught even the most basic language. Susan Schaller, then a twenty-four-year-old graduate student, encountered him in a class for the deaf where she had been sent as an interpreter and where he sat isolated, since he knew no sign language. She found him obviously intelligent and sharply observant but unable to communicate, and she felt compelled to bring him to a comprehension of words.
A Man without Words vividly conveys the challenge, the frustrations, and the exhilaration of opening the mind of a congenitally deaf person to the concept of language.
"At the level of sheer pleasure in reading, A Man without Words is as gripping as a novel, eliciting great sympathy for both protagonist and author. . . . The question that drives itwhat is it like to be without language?should be of interest to any reflective person, and it is one of the great scientific questions of all time."Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct
A Man Without Words is a beautiful and meticulous study of this languageless man, Ildefonso, and of Schaller's patient, dedicated, and brilliantly conceived efforts to make contact with him and to introduce him to language.
About the Author
Susan Schaller is a teacher of American Sign Language affiliated with the World Federation of the Deaf and the founder of In the Name of Deaf Adults (NaDA).