For the last several centuries, writing has served as a powerful tool for deaf people in the West. Through writing, deaf authors, poets, and playwrights have communicated directly with hearing readers, explaining themselves and demonstrating their intelligence and humanity to the hearing majority, which frequently has been ignorant of deaf abilities and perspectives. In this way, deaf writing functions as a minority literature that often resists dominant ideology. At the same time, writing has allowed deaf people separated by place or time to share their thoughts and experiences, nourishing a strong communal consciousness.

Still, obstacles remain. For people born deaf or who became deaf in infancy, their nation’s dominant written language is typically a foreign language, acquired only through sustained effort. Moreover, writing generally cannot convey ...

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