TALES TOLD BY A DOG. On May 11, the Wall Street Journal had a review by Charles Harrington Elster of CURIOSITIES OF LITERATURE by John Sutherland, which seems to be, as the review describes it, “a book crammed with…amusing trivia” on literary subjects. Because trivia is important, I have to register a correction. The review gives some examples of firsts from the book, including that “The first canine narrator, a black Aberdeen terrier named Boots, appeared in a 1930 short story by Rudyard Kipling called ‘Thy Servant a Dog.'” In fact, a heartbreaking story by Mark Twain, “A Dog’s Tale”, which is narrated by a dog, appeared in 1903. The story begins with one of the great opening sentences: “My father was a St. Bernard, my mother was a collie, but I am a Presbyterian.”

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3 Responses to TALES TOLD BY A DOG.

  1. Helen says:

    There are lots of Victorian examples. I just found a few on Google Books by searching on “dog” and the phrase “my mistress”; _Neptune, or the autobiography of a Newfoundland dog_, by E. Burrows, 1869; _The Confessions of a Lost Dog_, by Frances Power Cobbe, 1867; _Cat and dog, or Memoirs of Puss and The Captain_, by Julia Charlotte Maitland, 1854. I’m sure there are many more, and probably much earlier ones.

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  3. Elmer says:

    The Bar Sinister by Richard Harding Davis, which is narrated by a dog, appeared in a magazine in 1903. My father liked the story a lot. I had to ask him what a “bar sinister” was. The Amazon books entry quotes the author as saying that something like the events in the story really happened in Canada in 1900. Chekhov’s Kashtanka, which appeared in 1887, is told from the point of view of a dog.

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