Showing posts from August, 2023

Her manner appeared hard and ungracious, while her heart was dissolving with emotions - Harriet Martineau and Her Deafness

By Valerie Doulton   Martineau’s Childhood and the Beginnings of Deafness Harriet Martineau was born in 1802, in Norwich, the principal city of the county of Norfolk, in England. Her family was of Huguenot descent and Unitarian, a type of non-conformist Christianity which Martineau rejected as an adult, eventually becoming an atheist. Early on in her life it was noticed that Martineau was musically gifted. But at twelve years old she began to notice a small but perceptible loss of hearing. By the time she was sixteen this had become considerably more pronounced, causing her considerable personal and social distress. In ‘Household Education’ (1828), she wrote about the onset of her deafness: “Now and then, someone made light of it. Now and then, someone told her that she mismanaged it, and gave advice which, being inapplicable, grated upon her morbid feelings; but no one inquired what she felt, or appeared to suppose that she did feel. Many were anxious to show kindness and tried to sup