I’ve recently been reading up on famous traditional children’s authors, and come to some interesting revelations
1) Aesop, of Aesop’s fables fame, was a convicted embezzler and apparently renowned for insulting almost everyone he ever met, including children. The story goes that he was thrown into the sea because of his sarcastic and derogatory attitude and behaviour towards his pears.
2) Hans Christian Andersen, was apparently a notorious rogue and generally disliked and distrusted during his lifetime. I have read him described as ‘the type of person more likely to sell a child rather than read to it.’ One tabloid-newspaper of the day even accused him of ‘dining on human flesh,’ although this may not have been a literal accusation!
3) Lewis Carroll. Ah, yes even Mr Dodgson may have some skeletons in his closet. Although reported to dislike babes and small boys, Mr Dodgson did have affection for little girls; some autobiographies have speculated that this fondness may have had inappropriate routes.
4) Beatrix Potter, was apparently well known as an ardent ‘child hater’ and has even been accused of assaulting, often very young, children. There is one famous incident of her telling a young Roald Dahl to “buzz off” when he approached her.
5) L. Frank Baum, author of the seminal ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ was apparently an ardent white-supremist, who advocated the total annihilation of the indigenous American Indian population, and saw no reason to spare or indoctrinate their children into ‘White Civilization.”
6) Dr. Seuss, real name Theodor Geisel, had an ambivalent if uneasy relationship with children at best. It was never proven whether or not the childless Geisel actually disliked children, although his ‘wary behaviour’ towards them was often noted and commented upon. He has been recorded as saying “What might they ask next?” and “What might they do next?”
So, a goodly bunch of warm-hearted child-friendly individuals they were not!
Obviously I’m not judging all child-fiction writers with the same yard-stick here, but it does make you wonder why they chose to write the books they did!
Do you know of any more?