||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2012)|
|Hugh John Lofting|
14 January 1886|
Maidenhead, Berkshire, England
|Died||26 September 1947
|Genres||Children's literature, Fantasy|
|Notable work(s)||Doctor Dolittle|
|Notable award(s)||Newbery Medal
|Relative(s)||Hilary Lofting (the eldest brother)|
Hugh John Lofting (14 January 1886 – 26 September 1947) was a British author, trained as a civil engineer, who created the character of Doctor Dolittle — one of the classics of children's literature.1
He traveled widely as a civil engineer, before enlisting in the Irish Guards to serve in World War I. Not wishing to write to his children of the brutality of the war, he wrote imaginative letters that were the foundation of the successful Doctor Dolittle novels for children. Seriously wounded in the war, he moved with his family to Killingworth, Connecticut in the United States.3 Lofting was married three times and had three children, one of whom, his son Christopher, is the executor of his literary estate.
Lofting commented, "For years it was a constant source of shock to me to find my writings amongst 'juveniles'. It does not bother me any more now, but I still feel there should be a category of 'seniles' to offset the epithet."4
Hugh Lofting's doctor from Puddleby-on-the-Marsh who could speak to animals first saw light in the author's illustrated letters to children, written from the trenches during World War I when actual news, he later said, was either too horrible or too dull. The stories are set in early Victorian England, (in and around the 1840s, according to a date given in The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle).
The Story of Doctor Dolittle: Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts Never Before Printed (1920) began the series and won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958. The sequel, The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (1922), won Lofting the prestigious Newbery Medal. Eight more books followed, and after Lofting's death two more volumes appeared, composed of short unpublished pieces.
The internal chronology of the books is somewhat different from the publishing order. The first book is followed by Doctor Dolittle's Post Office (1923), Doctor Dolittle's Circus (1924) and Doctor Dolittle's Caravan (1926). Only then follows the second book, The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (1922), continued by Doctor Dolittle's Zoo (1925). After that, the publishing order is restored; Doctor Dolittle's Garden (1927) is followed by Doctor Dolittle in the Moon (1928) and Doctor Dolittle's Return (1933), ending with Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake (1948).4
The series has been adapted for film and television many times, for stage twice, and for radio.
The Story of Mrs Tubbs (1923) and Tommy, Tilly, and Mrs. Tubbs (1936) are picture books aimed at a younger audience than the Doctor Dolittle books. They concern the titular old woman, her pets (with whom she can speak) and the animals who help her out of trouble.
Porridge Poetry (1924) is the only non-Dolittle work by Lofting still in print. It is a lighthearted, colorfully illustrated book of poems for children.
Noisy Nora (1929) is a cautionary tale about a girl who is a noisy eater. The book is printed as if hand-written, and the many illustrations often merge with the text.
The Twilight of Magic (1930) is aimed at older readers. It is set in an age when magic is dying and science is beginning. This work is the only one of Lofting's books to be illustrated by another person (Lois Lenski).4
Victory for the Slain (1942) is Lofting's only work for adults, a single long poem in seven parts about the futility of war; the refrain "In war the only victors are the slain" permeates the poem. It was published only in the United Kingdom.4
||This article lacks information such as ISBNs for the books listed in it. (April 2012)|
- The Story of Doctor Dolittle (1920)ISBN 13:978-0099427322
- The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (1922)ISBN 13:978-0099854708
- Doctor Dolittle's Post Office (1923)ISBN 13:978-0099880400
- The Story of Mrs Tubbs (1923)
- Doctor Dolittle's Circus (1924)ISBN 13:978-1612035390
- Porridge Poetry (1924)
- Doctor Dolittle's Zoo (1925)ISBN 13:978-009988031
- Doctor Dolittle's Caravan (1926)ISBN 13:978-099854500
- Doctor Dolittle's Garden (1927)ISBN 13:978-0099880509
- Doctor Dolittle in the Moon (1928)ISBN 13:978-0099880608/978-1612035369
- Noisy Nora (1929)
- The Twilight of Magic (1930)
- Gub-Gub's Book, An Encyclopaedia of Food (1932)
- Doctor Dolittle's Return (1933)ISBN 13:978-099880707
- Doctor Dolittle's Birthday Book (1936)
- Tommy, Tilly, and Mrs. Tubbs (1936)
- Victory for the Slain (1942)
- Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake (1948)ISBN 13:978-0099880806
- Doctor Dolittle and the Green Canary (1950)ISBN 13:978-1406763393
- Doctor Dolittle's Puddleby Adventures (1952)ISBN 13:978-009981001
|This article lacks ISBNs for the books listed in it. (October 2013)|
- "Hugh Lofting". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
- Bulletin of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 41 (1): 386. December 1905.
- Pietrzyk, Cindi. Connecticut Off the Beaten Path, p. 157 (Globe Pequot, 2013).
- Schmidt, G.D.(1992). Hugh Lofting. New York: Twayne Publishing
- A Hugh Lofting website
- Works by Hugh Lofting at Project Gutenberg
- Works by Hugh Lofting at Internet Archive
- https://sites.google.com/site/hughloftingfirsteditionsuk/ - First Editions shown with pictures of the books.