• There Plant Eyes

  • A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness
  • By: M. Leona Godin
  • Narrated by: M. Leona Godin
  • Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From Homer to Helen Keller, from Dune to Stevie Wonder, from the invention of braille to the science of echolocation, M. Leona Godin explores the fascinating history of blindness, interweaving it with her own story of gradually losing her sight. 

There Plant Eyes probes the ways in which blindness has shaped our ocularcentric culture, challenging deeply ingrained ideas about what it means to be “blind”. For millennia, blind­ness has been used to signify such things as thoughtlessness (“blind faith”), irrationality (“blind rage”), and unconsciousness (“blind evolution”). But at the same time, blind people have been othered as the recipients of special powers as compensation for lost sight (from the poetic gifts of John Milton to the heightened senses of the comic book hero Daredevil).

Godin - who began losing her vision at age 10 - illuminates the often-surprising history of both the condition of blindness and the myths and ideas that have grown up around it over the course of generations. She combines an analysis of blindness in art and culture (from King Lear to Star Wars) with a study of the science of blindness and key developments in accessibility (the white cane, embossed printing, digital technology) to paint a vivid personal and cultural history. 

A genre-defying work, There Plant Eyes reveals just how essential blindness and vision are to humanity’s understanding of itself and the world.

*Includes a downloadable PDF containing the notes and bibliography from the book

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2021 M. Leona Godin (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"[A] thought-provoking mixture of criticism, memoir, and advocacy. Drawing on works including the Odyssey, Oedipus Rex, King Lear, and Paradise Lost, [Godin] traces two ideas: that being unable to see brings deep insight and that the blind can show how little the sighted truly see. Godin counters these stereotypes with her own experiences and with surprising details from the lives of blind activists such as Helen Keller, to argue that 'there are as many ways of being blind as there are of being sighted.’”
The New Yorker

“Elegant, fiercely argued . . . Godin enlarges our understanding of the blind and sight impaired, and There Plant Eyes proves a landmark contribution to the literature of disability, comparable to Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face and Jean-Dominique Bauby’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly—which is to say the literature of the human itself.” The Wall Street Journal

There Plant Eyes is so graceful, so wise, so effortlessly erudite, I learned something new and took pleasure in every page. All hail its originality, its humanity, and its ‘philosophical obsession with diversity in all its complicated and messy glory.’” —Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts

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Truly insightful and a must read for all!

An incredibly perfect collaboration of historical and modern perspectives on blindness. This book should be required reading for everyone to discover the hidden truths about blindness! read and you will learn being or becoming blind is not the death sentence humanity has been taught. as I learned firsthand, living a rich life with vision loss myself. The author gets it right and reveals the truths about fearing, interacting with, or becoming blind. Great reference before portraying a blind person in creative works. Terrific for trivia, facts and myth-busting. Finally — a book on blindness I can refer to for facts, old and new

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Better than anticipated.

I expected this book to be good from a snippet I got to read before the release. The book exceeded all expectations. Godin applies her considerable talents and intellect to create a book of history and personal experience; culture and social science; humor and advocacy to provide the reader with an understanding of the myths and realities of being a blind person from B.C.E, to the 21st century.

If you wish to have your assumptions challenged or wish to expand your education of everyone from the legendary Homer to Dare Devil, to Stevie Wonder; from Milton, to Helen Keller, this book is worth your time. You will put the book down with your heart and mind changed.

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Amazing!!

I’m visually impaired, and I have never felt so understood! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Im going to go recommend this to everyone I know now. The sighted, who want to know me. The blind, who may feel heard today. The family, who worry for their blind child or blind parent. The teachers, who encounter the blind as blindly as we encounter them. And to myself whenever I am next reminded of this book and see this review :) Definitely a reread!