Whilst trying to find an illustration for yesterday's post on Dr Dolittle by Dr S, I found myself wading through a mass of self-congratulatory verbeage bemoaning the `racism` of the early volumes of the series. The tribe of monkeys in the first book were `obviously` a metaphor for African natives, who like the monkeys had no knowledge of sanitary practises and were dying in their hundreds from plague.By showing Bumpo Jollilinki, the African Prince of the first book as gullible enough to believe in the literal truth of the Fairy Tale of Sleeping Beauty, Lofting was apparently demeaning all black people and promoting the worst aspects of Colonialism.
This conveniently ignores the portrait of Bumpo in the later books as loyal, kind, compassionate and resourceful. Or the only Native American character as being wise, studious and brave, or - most importantly - the portrayal of some of the white characters as being cruel, greedy, stupid and obsessed with blood sports!
Really, this sord of one-sided moralising is both irritating and counter-producetive. There! I have got off my soap box now,