Re: Source of child characters (Was Beccles or Potter

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Posted by PeterH on August 31, 2006 at 21:30:45 from user Peter_H.

In Reply to: Re: Beccles or Potter posted by John Lambert on August 31, 2006 at 20:56:37:

but isn't it also likely that wherever you write about a group of children (young people) you need someone like Susan or Bobbie to look after them

John - I don't want to interfere with Pam's response (which I also would like to read), but I could not restrain myself from posting, because this is a favourite theme of mine - ie whether children's authors copy each other, or whether the emergence of very similar types is an example of 'convergent evolution'. I am particularly interested in the similarity between some of Hugh Lofting's animal characters in his 'Dr Dolittle' books, and some of AR's characters. Because Lofting wrote his books about 10 years earlier than AR did, it is all too easy to accuse AR of copying the characters of, eg Susan from Dab-Dab, and Roger from Gub-Gub. But did he? As you point out, a caring 'housekeeper' type will always be necessary when juvenile characters (and animals can be categorised as 'juvenile' for this purpose) are away from parents, owners, zookeepers etc. Young boys will always be young boys, and the likeness to pigs in matters of appetite is hardly new. Having said that, there is also a likeness between other Lofting/AR characters which is not so easily explained away. At present, I am not convinced either way - the jury is still out on the matter of AR being inspired by (polite way of saying 'copying') Lofting. But thank you, John, for raising this matter.

(If I may - a brief footnote - the thought of Jenny Agutter playing Susan (when she was young enough to do so) gets my heart a-pounding!)

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