Shall I Say a Kiss?

The Courtship Letters of a Deaf Couple, 1936-1938

by Lennard J. Davis, Editor

Shall I Say A Kiss? opens a window into the lives of two working-class, Jewish, British Deaf people in the 1930s. This striking book reveals a consistent, journal-like account of the “lived” experience of Deaf people during the tumultuous times just prior to World War II. Because the correspondence is mainly composed of Eva’s letters, the focus sharpens even further as a record of the life and opinions of a young, working-class, Deaf woman about to embark upon marriage and life in a new country. The challenges she faced, including de facto racial barriers for both deaf and Jewish immigrants, and the prospect of uniting with a man she knew mostly through his letters alone, make for a compelling and emotional trip through her life. Shall I Say A Kiss? serves as a singular social document and also as an engaging and often moving narrative that will win audiences among academics and romantics alike.

Birthday by Marc Chagall, 1915. Oil on cardboard. 31 3/4 x 39 1/4" (80.6 x 99.7 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest.

Photograph © 1998 The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Design by Ariana Grabec-Dingman


  • publisher
    Gallaudet University Press
  • publisher place
    Washington, DC