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Black Beauty Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Posted by j128 in Autobiography, Classics of World Literature.
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Notice: I am finding a new image for the cover of Black Beauty.

Black Beauty by British author Anna Sewell was published in 1877. It was Anna Sewell’s first and only book, composed in the last years of her life between 1871 and 1877, confined in her home as an invalid. Anna Sewell dictated it to her mother who transferred it to paper.

The inspiration to write Black Beauty began for Anna Sewell early in life because she had exposure to horses early on as she was unable to walk and crippled since a young child and spent many hours driving her father to and from the station where he commuted.

Black Beauty was not originally intended a children’s book, it was more a book for people who worked with horses. Anna Sewell lived long enough to see the book become an immediate best-seller and to see it become a success.

Summary

The story is told in the first person by a black horse, Black Beauty. Black Beauty tells his life’s story from when he was a little foal in the English countryside living with his mother to his retirement as a working horse, etc.

Black Beauty undergoes many experiences in a horse’s life. He experiences the carefree days of a foal with his mother, and the difficulties of pulling cabs in London. Black Beauty recounts events in his life in each chapter, more or less containing morals. He has, throughout his life, kind and loving masters, and cruel and careless masters. Finally he retires into the country after being rescued from an old human friend that he met when he was young.

Black Beauty has become a classic and is one of the most widely read books in the English language.

Black Beauty has also been subject to several movies. The movie that is most faithful to the book is the 1994 Warner Brothers’ Black Beauty. I have seen the 1994 Black Beauty and it is a work of art. Some scenes are very emotional and may trigger tears, so be alert if viewing with young children. Alan Cumming supplies the voice of Black Beauty in the 1994 adaptation.

Links

Black Beauty on Project Gutenberg

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