The Story of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

The Story of Dr. Dolittle

byHugh Lofting

Kobo ebook | January 22, 2014

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This Housemartin Classics edition includes the full original text as well as an easy to use interactive table of contents.

The Story of Doctor Dolittle, Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts (1920), written and illustrated by Hugh Lofting, is the first of his Doctor Dolittle books, a series of children's novels about a man who learns to talk to animals and becomes their champion around the world.

The original edition of the book included language and plot elements that are considered racist by present-day standards, though probably not intended as such by the writer.

Black African characters are clearly intended by the writer to be sympathetic, but their depiction reflects the paternalistic mindset of colonialism still prevailing in Britain at the time of writing, not to mention the racism in Lofting's adopted United States. Editions starting in the 1960s removed some terms for black people which had come to be regarded as offensive. (Exactly when these revisions appeared is difficult to determine, as the changes are not explicitly noted.)

Later editions changed the plot as well, and noted these changes in a new preface for the book. The original edition had a plot line where Bumpo, the African prince, wishes he were white, so that he can marry the Sleeping Beauty. The Doctor, who is imprisoned by the prince's father, grants his wish in exchange for escape by bleaching him. In the original text, this process is accompanied by a strong smell of "burning brown paper". In American editions, there seems to have been a half-hearted attempt at weakening this by changing the bleaching agent to white covering cream, before the poor prince Bumpo's ambitions are either changed via hypnosis or he wishes to be a lion. Ultimately, he is not excised entirely.

In a 1978 edition, only one sentence is removed from this section: "For the Prince's face had turned as white as snow, and his eyes, which had been mud-colored, were a manly gray!" Since the previous statement was that "all the animals cried out in surprise", the removal of this is rather jarring.

Title:The Story of Dr. DolittleFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:January 22, 2014Publisher:Housemartin ClassicsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1634612078

ISBN - 13:9781634612074