Anna Sewell’s novel, told in the voice of Black Beauty himself, was first published just before Christmas 1877. Originally aimed at those who worked with horses it has become a children’s literary classic, perhaps because it reflects a child’s sense of impotence.
This frontispiece depicts a turning point in Black Beauty’s life, when a drunken rider causes him to fall, throwing the rider and precipitating a gradual decline in his own fortunes. Through her protagonist, Sewell draws attention to cruelty towards horses in general and criticises some specific practices such as the use of the bearing-rein. Following slow initial sales, the book became an influential best-seller.
- Article by:
- Martin Dubois
- Childhood and children's literature
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is crammed with animals: a grinning cat, a talking rabbit, an enormous caterpillar and countless others. Dr Martin Dubois explores anthropomorphism and nonsense in Lewis Carroll’s novel, revealing the literary traditions that underpin it – and those it inspired.