Louis Braille

Louis Braille (January 4, 1809 – January 6, 1852) was the inventor of braille[1], a world-wide system used by blind and visually impaired people for reading and writing. Braille is read by passing one's fingers over characters made up of an arrangement of one to six embossed points. It has been adapted to almost every known language.

Biography

Braille was born in Coupvray near Paris, France. His father, Simon-René Braille, was a harness and saddle maker. At the age of three, Braille injured his left eye with a stitching awl from his father's workshop. This destroyed his left eye, and sympathetic ophthalmia led to loss of vision in his right. Braille was completely blind by the age of four. Despite his disability, Braille continued to attend school, with the support of his parents, until he was required to read and write.

At the age of ten, Braille earned a scholarship to the Institution Royale des Jeunes Aveugles (Royal Institution for Blind Youth) in Paris. The scholarship was his ticket out of the usual fate for the blind: begging for money on the streets of Paris. However, the conditions in the school were not much better. Braille was served stale bread and water, and students were sometimes beaten and locked up as punishment.

Braille, a bright and creative student, became a talented cellist and organist in his time at the school, playing the organ for churches all over France.

At the school, the children were taught basic craftsman's skills and simple trades. They were also taught how to read by feeling raised letters (a system devised by the school's founder, Valentin Haüy). However, because the raised letters were made using paper pressed against copper wire, the students never learned to write.

In 1821, a former soldier named Charles Barbier visited the school. Barbier shared his invention called "night writing," a code of twelve raised dots that let soldiers share top-secret information on the battlefield without having to speak. Although the code ended up being too difficult for the average soldier, Braille picked it up quickly.

"Louis Braille" in braille

That year, Braille began inventing his raised-dot system with his father's stitching awl, finishing at age fifteen. Braille's system, "braille", used only six dots and corresponded to letters, whereas Barbier used twelve dots corresponding to sounds. The six dot system allowed the recognition of letters with a single fingertip apprehending all the dots at once, requiring no movement or repositioning which slowed recognition in systems requiring more dots. The Braille system also offered numerous benefits over Valentin Haüy's raised letter method, the most notable being the ability to both read and write an alphabet.

Braille later extended his system to include notation for mathematics and music. The first book in braille was published in 1827 under the title Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them. In 1839 Braille published details of a method he had developed for communication with sighted people, using patterns of dots to approximate the shape of printed symbols. Braille and his friend Pierre Foucault went on to develop a machine to speed up the somewhat cumbersome system.

Braille became a well-respected teacher at the Institute where he had been a student. Although he was admired and respected by his pupils, his braille system was not taught at the Institute during his lifetime. He had always been plagued by ill health, and he died in Paris of tuberculosis in 1852 at the age of 43; his body would be disinterred in 1952 (the centenary of his death) and honored with re-interrment in the Panthéon in Paris.

Legacy

The significance of the braille system was not identified until 1868, when Dr. Thomas Armitage, along with a group of four blind men, established the British and Foreign Society for Improving the Embossed Literature of the Blind (later the Royal National Institute of the Blind), which published books in Braille's system.

Today, braille has been adapted to almost every major national language and is the primary system of written communication for visually impaired persons around the world.


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Today, braille has been adapted to almost every major national language and is the primary system of written communication for visually impaired persons around the world. See The Legend of Zelda, among numerous examples. Thomas Armitage, along with a group of four blind men, established the British and Foreign Society for Improving the Embossed Literature of the Blind (later the Royal National Institute of the Blind), which published books in Braille's system. Artificial legends are the stock-in-trade of computer gaming. The significance of the braille system was not identified until 1868, when Dr. They learned their stock in trade, their stories, typically from an older storyteller, who might (or more usually might not) have actually been there when the "story" was "history" bardic schools. He had always been plagued by ill health, and he died in Paris of tuberculosis in 1852 at the age of 43; his body would be disinterred in 1952 (the centenary of his death) and honored with re-interrment in the Panthéon in Paris. Storytellers abounded.

Although he was admired and respected by his pupils, his braille system was not taught at the Institute during his lifetime. Before the invention of the printing press, stories were passed on via oral tradition. Braille became a well-respected teacher at the Institute where he had been a student. Conspiracy theories are similar to legends in that the linchpin of the conspiracy is usually a plausible, but unprovable secret agenda which exclusively drives the story and links otherwise unconnected happenings into a satisfying pattern. Braille and his friend Pierre Foucault went on to develop a machine to speed up the somewhat cumbersome system. What distinguishes legend from chronicle, however, is that legend applies a structure that reveals a moral "meaning" to events, which lifts them above the meaningless repetitions and constraints of average human lives and gives them a universality that makes them worth repeating. In 1839 Braille published details of a method he had developed for communication with sighted people, using patterns of dots to approximate the shape of printed symbols. Some legends we "know" today may have their basis in historical fact.

The first book in braille was published in 1827 under the title Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Songs by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged for Them. When a legend that is rooted in a kernel of truth is so strongly affected by an ideal (perhaps of chivalry) that it conforms to expected literary conventions of behavior, it becomes Romance. Braille later extended his system to include notation for mathematics and music. It may be crystallized in a literary work that fixes it and which affects the future direction it will take: compare Hamlet (legend) and Shakespeare's Hamlet. The Braille system also offered numerous benefits over Valentin Haüy's raised letter method, the most notable being the ability to both read and write an alphabet. A legend or legend fragment is a meme that propagates through a culture. The six dot system allowed the recognition of letters with a single fingertip apprehending all the dots at once, requiring no movement or repositioning which slowed recognition in systems requiring more dots. See the entry Euhemerus for more detail.

Braille's system, "braille", used only six dots and corresponded to letters, whereas Barbier used twelve dots corresponding to sounds. Explaining the origins of myth as former historical legends in this fashion is termed "euhemerism". That year, Braille began inventing his raised-dot system with his father's stitching awl, finishing at age fifteen. To take an example, myths surrounding Cadmus, a Phoenician immigrant credited with bringing the alphabet and other Near Eastern culture to Bronze Age Greece, may have begun as a series of legends gathering around the memory of the historical founder of certain coastal cities in Greece. Although the code ended up being too difficult for the average soldier, Braille picked it up quickly. Legend may be interpreted for its ontological consequences and be treated as myth. Barbier shared his invention called "night writing," a code of twelve raised dots that let soldiers share top-secret information on the battlefield without having to speak. Thus "legend" gained its modern connotations of "undocumented" and "spurious".

In 1821, a former soldier named Charles Barbier visited the school. By emphasizing the unrealistic character of "legends" of the saints, English-speaking Protestants were able to introduce a note of contrast to the "real" saints and martyrs of the Reformation, whose authentic narratives could be found in Foxe's Book of Martyrs. However, because the raised letters were made using paper pressed against copper wire, the students never learned to write. Its first blurred extended (and essentially Protestant) sense of a nonhistorical narrative or myth was first recorded in 1613. They were also taught how to read by feeling raised letters (a system devised by the school's founder, Valentin Haüy). The word "legend" appeared in English ca 1340, transmitted from medieval Latin through French. At the school, the children were taught basic craftsman's skills and simple trades. The Legenda was intended to inspire extemporized homilies and sermons appropriate to the saint of the day.

Braille, a bright and creative student, became a talented cellist and organist in his time at the school, playing the organ for churches all over France. They are presented as lives of the saints, but the profusion of miraculous happenings and above all their uncritical context are characteristics of hagiography. Braille was served stale bread and water, and students were sometimes beaten and locked up as punishment. Jacob de Voragine's Legenda Aurea or "The Golden Legend" comprises a series of vitae or instructive biographical narratives, tied to the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church. However, the conditions in the school were not much better. Legend may be transmitted orally, passed on person-to-person, or, in the original sense, through written text. The scholarship was his ticket out of the usual fate for the blind: begging for money on the streets of Paris. If it included an ass that gave sage advice to the Prodigal Son it would be a fable.

At the age of ten, Braille earned a scholarship to the Institution Royale des Jeunes Aveugles (Royal Institution for Blind Youth) in Paris. The parable of the Prodigal Son would be a legend if it were told as having actually happened to a specific son of a historical father. Despite his disability, Braille continued to attend school, with the support of his parents, until he was required to read and write. The talking animal formula of Aesop identifies his brief parables as fables, not legends. Braille was completely blind by the age of four. Legends that exceed these boundaries of "realism"— a term that has no practical application unless it is bound within particular cultural perspectives— are "fables". This destroyed his left eye, and sympathetic ophthalmia led to loss of vision in his right. But compare the Voyage of Saint Brendan, and the "Black Legend" of the supposedly fanatical and cruel national character of Spain.

At the age of three, Braille injured his left eye with a stitching awl from his father's workshop. Like metaphors, legends may be living or dead: the vital signs of a legend depend upon its being fiercely defended as true, which eliminates the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow. His father, Simon-René Braille, was a harness and saddle maker. From the moment a legend is retailed as a legend, its authentic legendary qualities begin to fade and recede: in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving transformed a local Hudson River Valley legend into a sly literary anecdote with "Gothic" overtones, which actually tended to diminish its character as genuine legend. Braille was born in Coupvray near Paris, France. The myth of the Gordian Knot is the founding myth of Gordium itself, justifying the authenticity of its line of kings. . The legend concerns Alexander the Great, who, when confronted with the ancient knot of cornel bark that secured the pole of the sacral ox-cart at Gordium in the winter of 333 BC, severed it with a slash of his sword.

It has been adapted to almost every known language. A clear example, which distinguishes what is myth from what is legend, is the story of the Gordian Knot. Braille is read by passing one's fingers over characters made up of an arrangement of one to six embossed points. The distinction is carefully drawn by Karl Kerenyi in the opening pages of The Heroes of the Greeks (1959):. Louis Braille (January 4, 1809 – January 6, 1852) was the inventor of braille[1], a world-wide system used by blind and visually impaired people for reading and writing. It refers imaginary events to some real personage, or it localises romantic stories in some definite spot.". Hippolyte Delehaye, (in his Preface to The Legends of the Saints: An Introduction to Hagiography, 1907) distinguished legend from myth: "The legend, on the other hand, has, of necessity, some historical or topographical connection.

For the purpose of the study of legends, in the academic discipline of folkloristics, the truth value of legends is irrelevant because, whether the story told is true or not, the fact that the story is being told at all allows scholars to use it as commentary upon the cultures that produce or circulate the legends. In short, legends are believable, although not necessarily believed. Thus modern "urban legends" are quite correctly termed legends: "it happened to the brother-in-law of someone my friend's mother knew". Modern retellings of the legend of Saint George omit many of the miraculous happenings that were central to earlier versions, but which have lost credibility.

Legend, for its active and passive participants, includes no happenings that are outside the realm of "possibility", defined by a highly flexible set of parameters, which may include miracles that are perceived as actually having happened, within the specific tradition of indoctrination where the legend arises, and within which it may be transformed over time, in order to keep it fresh and vital, and realistic. A legend (Latin, legenda, "things to be read") is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude. William Tell. Roland.

Robin Hood. Vlad the Impaler; the legend from which vampire mythology is said to derive;. El Dorado and the Fountain of Youth, which both evolved from legend to myth;. The Holy Grail;.

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, when the "real Arthur" is identified in 6th century Cornwall;. Bruno of Carthusia;. Cenodoxus, or the Damnation of the Good Doctor of Paris, an event leading ultimately to the Sanctification of St. Atlantis, especially when its "actual site" is hunted for (Plato used the myth as a parable);.

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