Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse (Paperback)
Black Beauty is an 1877 novel by English author Anna Sewell. It was composed in the last years of her life, during which she remained in her house as an invalid. The novel became an immediate bestseller, with Sewell dying just five months after its publication, long enough to see her first and only novel become a success. With fifty million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time. While forthrightly teaching animal welfare, it also teaches how to treat people with kindness, sympathy, and respect. Black Beauty became a forerunner to the pony book genre of children's literature. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 58 on the BBC's survey The Big Read. Horses Darkie/Black Beauty/Black Auster/Jack/Blackie/Old Crony-The narrator of the story, a handsome black horse. He begins his career as a carriage horse for wealthy people but when he "breaks his knees" (i.e. develops scars on his knees after a bad fall) he is no longer considered presentable enough and is put to much harder work. He passes through the hands of a series of owners, some cruel, some kind. He always tries his best to serve humans despite the circumstances. Duchess (nicknamed "Pet")-Beauty's and Rob Roy's mother, who encourages Beauty to be good from a young age. Rob Roy-A fellow black horse from Beauty's original farm, who is killed in a hunting incident (along with his rider, Squire Gordon's only son). It is later learned that he was Beauty's half-brother, an older son of Duchess. Lizzie- A high-strung, nervous mare whom Lady Anne rides one day and is spooked until Black Beauty comes to her aid with his rider. Ginger-A companion of Beauty's at Birtwick Park, she is named for her chestnut colour and her habit of biting, which is often how the spice, ginger, is described. Ginger is a more aggressive horse due to her traumatic upbringing. After being ridden by Lord George in a steeplechase her back is strained. Beauty meets Ginger for the last time as broken-down cab horses in London, and later a cart with a dead horse (whom Beauty believes is Ginger), passes by Beauty. Merrylegs-A short, dappled grey, handsome pony who is polite to humans and horses alike. He is ridden by the young daughters at Bihari Park, then sent to live with a vicar who promises never to sell him. Sir Oliver-An older horse who had his tail docked, to his great annoyance and discomfort. Rory-A job horse usually paired with Black Beauty. Became a coal carting horse after getting hit in the chest by cart driven on the wrong side of the road. Peggy-A hired horse who cannot run very fast due to her short legs. She runs at an odd hopping pace. When pulling a carriage she often gets whipped for not keeping up with a faster horses. Sold to two ladies who wanted a safe horse. Unnamed young horse-paired with Beauty after Peggy leaves. Often frightened by things he cannot see as he doesn't know whether they are dangerous or not. Captain-A former army horse who witnessed horrific incidents in the Crimean War, although he was well treated and received no serious wounds. He lost his beloved master in the Charge of the Light Brigade. He became a cab horse for Jerry, where he works with Black Beauty. After he is injured due to a collision with a drunk driver Jerry has him shot rather than send him to work as a cart horse. Hotspur-A five year old horse bought to replace Captain. Jerry sells him to Grant when he leaves London. Justice-A calm, peaceful horse Beauty meets at Birtwick Park. A great book about horses for kids, this is black beauty by anna sewell. Enjoy the auto biography of Black Beauty the horse.
About the Author
Anna Sewell was born in Yarmouth, England and had a brother named Philip, who was an engineer in Europe. At the age of 14, Anna fell while walking home from school in the rain and injured both ankles. Through mistreatment of the injury, she became unable to walk or stand for any length of time for the rest of her life. Disabled and unable to walk since she was a young child, Anna Sewell began learning about horses early in life, spending many hours driving her father to and from the station from which he commuted to work. Her dependence on horse-drawn transportation fostered her respect of horses. The local estate of Tracy Park, now a golf club, was said to be the inspiration for Black Beauty's "Birtwick Park." Sewell's introduction to writing began in her youth when she helped edit the works of her mother, Mary Wright Sewell (1797-1884), a deeply religious, popular author of juvenile best-sellers. By telling the story of a horse's life in the form of an autobiography and describing the world through the eyes of the horse, Anna Sewell broke new literary ground. She never married or had children. In visits to European spas, she met many writers, artists, and philanthropists. Her only book was Black Beauty, written between 1871 and 1877 in their house at Old Catton. During this time, her health was declining, and she could barely get out of bed. Her dearly-loved mother often had to help her in her illness. She sold it to the local publishers, Jarrold & Sons. The book broke records for sales and is the "sixth best seller in the English language." Sewell died of hepatitis or tuberculosis on 25 April 1878, only 5 months after the novel was published, but she lived long enough to see its initial success. She was buried on 30 April 1878 in the Quaker burial-ground at Lammas near Buxton, Norfolk. In Norwich, England, not far from her resting place, is a wall plaque marking her resting place. Her birthplace in Church Plain, Great Yarmouth is now a museum. Sewell did not write the novel for children. She said that her purpose in writing the novel was "to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses"-an influence she attributed to an essay on animals she read earlier by Horace Bushnell (1802-1876) entitled "Essay on Animals." Her sympathetic portrayal of the plight of working animals led to a vast outpouring of concern for animal welfare and is said to have been instrumental in abolishing the cruel practice of using the checkrein.