Black Beauty is a novel by English author Anna Sewell about the life of a handsome black horse. Black Beauty’s life story is full of ups, downs, horrible grooms, gentle masters, and amazing friends. 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.
Black Beauty is the only book written by Anna Sewell. She was born in Yarmouth, England in 1820.
In 1845, Mr Sewell took up a job at Brighton. Anna drove him to and fro from the railway station in a little carriage. Perhaps it was then that she began to understand horses, for the neighbours observed that she guided the family horse by talking to it as a human being.
A serious fall during her teens crippled her foot beyond repair and she was bedridden for most of her life. As she lay as an invalid, her great love for horses began to take concrete shape in a book. Today, Black Beauty is acclaimed as the most successful animal story ever written, but for Anna it was slow and laborious work, as chapter after chapter was dictated to her mother.
The book was published in 1877, when Anna was fifty-seven years old, but within months, she died. Ironically, when the horse arrived to carry her body to the cemetry, her mother saw that it bore the painful bearing-reins that Anna had denounced in her book. They were promptly removed, so that the horse could perform a final service for Anna, unfettered.