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Beautiful Joe

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About the Author

Margaret Marshall Saunders (1861 - 1947) was a Canadian writer and social activist.

Keridiana Chez is Assistant Professor of English at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York, USA.


"Marshall Saunders begins the Introduction to Beautiful Joe: `THE wonderfully successful book, entitled "Black Beauty," came like a living voice out of the animal kingdom.' Keridiana Chez's superb edition of Saunders's great novel has recalled another vibrant animal voice: the dog Beautiful Joe's in his `Autobiography.' Chez not only restores the original 1894 edition-more politically contentious than its many sanitized twentieth-century successors-but she also provides a splendidly thorough introduction and evocative cultural contexts, from the temperance and anti-vivisectionist movements to the childhood humane education groups known as the Bands of Mercy. Now at last there is a definitive edition of Beautiful Joe. I anticipate teaching it with great pleasure in my autumn `Victorian Animal Dreams' course, right alongside Black Beauty, where the `living voice' of the mutilated, loving dog and the ill-used, faithful horse will indeed be beautiful." --Deborah Denenholz Morse, co-editor of Victorian Animal Dreams

"At long last, the novel that haunts the history of humane education is back in print, and in a scholarly edition that restores the cringe-worthy details that indicate how a story of animal torture became Canada's first bestseller. With well-organized appendixes of carefully selected, contemporaneous ephemera, this edition is guaranteed to spark lively discussions among scholars and students alike. Situating Margaret Marshall Saunders's fiction amid debates about animal protection, petkeeping, vivisection, prohibition, and publication, Chez's comprehensive introduction further helps to set new terms of debate by making the case for the relevance of the novel's `demand[ . . . for . . .] strong ethical response - and action' - to contemporary animal studies scholarship."

--Susan McHugh, University of New England

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