Friday, March 30, 2012

Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty

Anna Sewell
It is the birthday of English novelist Anna Sewell (1820), whose book Black Beauty (1877) was an immediate bestseller and has become one of the most popular books ever. It was the only book she ever wrote. She wrote it late in life but lived to see it become a success. Sewell injured both ankles at age 14 when she fell while walking home in the rain. The injuries were not treated properly and she remained disabled for the rest of her life, unable to walk or stand without assistance. She depended on horse drawn carriages for transportation and grew to respect horses and the work they did. Black Beauty, which is told as an autobiography of the magnificent horse, reveals the sometimes harsh treatment of working animals in Victorian England. Sewell's health was deteriorating as she wrote the book over seven years beginning in 1871. Her mother helped her by taking dictation or transcribing little slips of paper on which Sewell wrote the final scenes. Sewell died five months after the book was published.

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