Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Frances Browne, the "Blind Poetess": Toward a Poetics of Blind Writing

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2009), 3, (2), 147–161.

Abstract

This essay analyses the nineteenth-century reception of Frances Browne's writing by both sighted and blind and visually impaired readers, exploring the competing ways in which the work was read bio-critically by the two groups. Sighted readers were concerned to test the validity of visual images constructed in the writing, while the blind and visually impaired community hailed the well-known poet and novelist as a role model. The essay concentrates on the poignantly ironic depiction of blindness in Browne's 1861 novel, My Share of the World, in which a woman who experiences sight loss commits suicide, considering how the visiocentric medium within which Browne wrote impacted on her refusal to grant her heroine a happy ending.

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Tilley, Heather