IntroductionNo one thought a novel about a horse would be such a big deal, but Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty became precisely that when it was published shortly before her death in 1878. Although she published only one work, Black Beauty’s status as a classic of children’s literature has earned Sewell a place in posterity. Interestingly enough, the novel was not specifically written for children, though in working with her mother, also a young-adult author, Sewell was doubtlessly accustomed to writing in that vein. One of Black Beauty’s many charms is that the story is narrated by the titular horse. In the telling of his many adventures, Sewell created a world of warmth and kindness for children of countless generations.
- Sewell was injured in an accident in her teens and never fully recovered. Some have attributed her love of horses to her relative inability to walk.
- Sewell learned about writing in part by helping her mother edit her own work.
- During her retreat to Europe, Sewell came in contact with artists and writers, and this exposure is also believed to have contributed to her authorship of Black Beauty.
- Sewell became increasingly ill during the writing of Black Beauty, and it is only through her mother’s transcription and dictation that the novel was completed.
- Sewell died just months after the release of Black Beauty. Though she was aware of its early acclaim, she never knew of the phenomenal success it would become.