Beatrix Potter and her many tales of really well drawn anthropomorphic critters.

07 Apr

What on earth do i blog about? Let’s see, it’s easter…. steampunk easter? Eh…… there’s always going the theater route and doing some Superstar post or passion play thing… hm, passion plays, not bad. Steampunk bunny? What am i going to do post a bunch a bunch of picture of steampunk bunnies? They’re out there. Just…. doesnt really seem all that interesting. Bunnies… rabbit…. oh! Peter Rabbit! Victorian children’s classic! Ah! Yes!

Do you all remember Peter Rabbit? Beatrix Potter books are a bit of a children’s staple. They’re short, illustrated with absolute loveliness and tell very simple tales with very…. Victorian wording.

Born on 1866 Beatrix Potter’s foremost passion was the natural world. She learned to draw animals by studying the many little critters she grew up with in the English Lakes District. Upon the success of her children’s books she used the proceeds to buy and conserve the farmlands of the Lake District to keep it from being developed and destroyed.

By her death in 1943 she had almost single handedly preserved all of the land that makes up what is now the Lake District National Park. So, you know, respect.

In 1901 she privately published her first children’s book The Tale Of Peter Rabbit, a story about a rambunctious young rabbit who pigs out on Mr. McGregor’s garden and almost gets his butt kicked doing so. Fear not, he escapes and makes it back to his mother.

Original cover for first privately published edition

It may seem utterly quaint today, but the story was quite subversive in the Victorian Age, much like the Cat In The Hat would be 50 years later. Victorian children’s literature was absolutely obsessed with portraying strict morals and impeccable character. Peter Rabbit was disobedient and rebellious. This was frowned upon. The only saving grace is that he pays for his immoral ways.

The book was successful and she went on to write 23 others, inventing many other well illustrated, anthropomorphic animals who would adorn children’s bookshelves for decades to come.

In Squirrel Nutkin, Suirrel Nutkin and his cousins sail to Owl Island where he keeps singing an insanely annoying riddle to an owl until finally the owl can’t stand him anymore and tried to skin him alive.

A novel specifically for girls: Mrs. Tiggy Winkle the hedgehog is ironing when a human girl named Lucie happens upon her. They have tea together and spend the afternoon enthralled with doing household chores together.

The cat Tabitha Twitchit invites some friends to a tea party, but upon dressing her 3 kittens they proceed to utterly soil themselves and so they they have to stay in their rooms where they end up jumping on the bed while the adults are downstairs sitting up straight. I’m not sure what the message is, but i like this one a bit better.

How many of these am i actually going to look up?  A fascinating question as i’m alone at a flat in London on Sat evening before Easter with nothing much to do but look up Beatrix Potter books which seems kind of really sad when i write it but is actually strangely comforting.

Jemima the duck is invited by a fox to lay her eggs at his house so the humans won’t get the eggs. Because Jemima is clearly an absolute imbecile she decides this is a fine idea. Before the fox can can eat her and the eggs, Jemima’s ever loyal collie friend and his two faithful young fox hounds show up, rescue her and drive the fox away. They take Jemima back to the farm but before they do, the hounds are so hungry after rescuing the duck they eat her unborn children (the eggs). No, seriously,i’m not making this up. Admit it, it’s kind of hard core and yet awesome at the same time.

All right i’m out of here. Happy Easter or happy weekend in general to you all and we’ll catch up next week before the sessions.

1 Comment

Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Uncategorized


One response to “Beatrix Potter and her many tales of really well drawn anthropomorphic critters.

  1. Aaron Thomas

    December 7, 2012 at 1:30 am

    I have a Mrs. Tiggy Winkle first edition i would like to sale it is excellent shape .


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