People frequently perceive writers not as fiction authors but teachers, mentors, and even psychologists. We raise them above routine days, notice their genuine and talent but don’t want to see them as ordinary people with weaknesses, troubles, and worries.
But in fact, they were not different in routine days: they drank tea in the morning, didn’t like to wash the dishes, and had pets. This article by papercheap.co.uk will show you the other side of famous writers and their lives: that one with love and care about their faithful companions. Here we go!
Charles Dickens was an English writer known as the outstanding novelist-realist. He loved romantic symbols, mysteries and signs very much. It influenced not only his writings but his choice of animals as well. Contemporaries mentioned that Dickens always appeared in public with his favorite pet: the raven named Grip.
Grip was able to talk, but in fact, it was not one raven. There were three different birds having the same name. Grip became the prototype of the raven from the “Barnaby Rudge”: in the novel’s foreword part the writer told more details about this animal.
When the young journalist Edgar Allan Poe was writing a review to “Barnaby Rudge” for the “Saturday Evening Post” newspaper, he got interested by the symbolic role of the bird. After that, the famous mystic poem “The Raven” by Edgar Poe appeared. Nowadays, one can see a stuffed Dickens’s raven in the department of rare books on the third floor of the Philadelphia library.
Hilary Hemingway, a nephew of the writer mentioned his animals in the book “Hemingway’s Cats: An Illustrated Biography.” The writer and his fourth wife Mary treated their cats with exceptional care and tenderness. Elegant animals were real owners of their house: cats were allowed to walk on the table and eat from the Hemingway’s plate.
Nowadays, more than 60 cats live in the Hemingway’s house museum. All of them are descendants of the Hemingway’s cats.
Anton Chekhov and Dogs
The Russian novelist Anton Chekhov treated all dogs with love, both his and homeless creatures. His contemporaries noted that while living in Yalta, Chekhov fed half of the homeless dogs in the city. Moreover, he kept two of them: their names were Tuzik and Kashtan.
But most of all, Chekhov liked dachshunds: he once said that these pets have curved legs, long bodies but great minds. Dachshunds named Brom and Hina lived in the writer’s mansion, Melikhovo. In letters, Chekhov writes that his dogs always were glad to meet him near the house. These pets are still there, but now they are bronze statues.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The English poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti kept an actual zoo of pets. But the pearl of his zoo and the beloved pet was the wombat named Top. “Can the world know peace before I get my wombat?” – He wrote the phrase while waiting for his pet delivery across the sea.
Rossetti’s wombat was included in the fictional writing: some critics think that Top was the prototype of Dormouse from Lewis Carroll’s book “Alice in Wonderland.”
Death of a Wombat by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
I never reared the young wombat
To glad me with his pinhole eye
But when he was most sweet and fat
And tailless he was sure to die!
The American writer Edith Wharton loved dogs, but only small ones, especially Chihuahua. Wharton carried her pets on hands or shoulders. In the house of the Wharton family, there was a separate corner for dogs where pets could spend their time while Edith was busy with guests. People even say that Teddy Wharton, the writer’s husband, was jealous of her wife: he thought that she was spending more time with pets than with him.
Wharton had buried her pets on a separate cemetery she could see from the window of her room after they died.
Charles Pierre Baudelaire
The French symbolism writer Charles Pierre Baudelaire was known as a dark and outrageous poet. So, he decided that the best pet would be… a tarantula. Baudelaire was keeping his pet tarantula in a jar on a windowsill so it could see the street.
The British modernist writer Virginia Woolf was very tender about dogs. She valued pets not for their faith but for the home atmosphere they could create. Woolf wrote that dogs represent the private side of one’s life.
The American writer Flannery O’Connor, the author of the “Wise Blood,” was keeping not cats or dogs but peacocks as her pets. Nearly a hundred peacocks were free to walk around her mansion in Milledgeville.
O’Connor loved these birds not only for their beauty but for the fact that they don’t show it to everyone. These beautiful creatures appear in her texts as symbols of the other world.
The “southern gothic queen” had a tradition to add the peacock’s feather to every letter she sent as a symbol of her friendship.
The American modernism poetry writer Carl Sandburg decided that the best pet is not a cat or a dog, not even a peacock but a Nubian goat. The writer and his wife kept goats on their farm in Arkansas.
Nowadays, you can’t wonder people by keeping goats on farms, but they weren’t cattle for Sandburg’s family, they were pets there. Carl knew names of all his goats and even got the qualification of a professional milkman to prevent hurting animals when taking their milk. The writer’s wife mentioned once that Sandburg was proud of a reward for the best milk in the neighborhood not less than for his Pulitzer Prize.
The writer once noted: like all perfect creatures, cats are practical. Cats don’t offer services. Cats offer themselves. Of course, they demand care and place to live, but you can’t refuse to pay them for their love.
The American non-conformism writer loved cats so much he devoted them his autobiographical novel “Cat inside” released in 1986. In a book which was a bit sad and nostalgic, the writer tells about his cats and analyzes the whole history of existence for humans and cats.
As you might notice, writers love caring about different pets very much, not only about cats or dogs.
Each writer explains this love differently. But Maurice Sendak was the briefest about that. When they asked him why he loved his dog so much, he answered: “I just hate people.”