N is for National Velvet

Graphic Design: AlphaBooks


National Velvet
by Enid Bagnold
1935 Morrow 1949
Bought from Robin Bledsoe
Inkscape lines & cutouts
Gimp colors & finish work

Confession One. I chose the design because it was interesting challenge. It has nothing to do with the plot or the period of the book. Jessica Hische I am not, Penguin Drop Caps.

Confession Two. Major SPOILER. (Seriously, does anyone not know the plot of this book/movie?) I have not read National Velvet, nor am I likely to. Hearing about a person denied their dream due to gender? No, thank you. Not an appealing way to spend an afternoon. As I have said elsewhere, if I want harsh truth, I’ll watch the news [You Say Escapism Like It’s A Bad Thing].

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

4 thoughts on “N is for National Velvet

  1. I read National Velvet when I was quite young. Females being denied their dreams due to gender was a thing then. A bad thing, but a thing.
    I have all the harsh truth I need in my life. I try to avoid the news, only makes it worse….

  2. Yes, there is gender-inequality rampant in the book (and the film), but it was reflective of a time when because you were a gurr-ull there was a whole mess of things you couldn’t do. What really, really, really bugged me about the translation from book to film was that the film missed the whole point of the book. The hero of the book, The Pie, was a piebald, and by definition not a thoroughbred. (You cannot register a piebald with the Jockey Club either here or in England). The book goes on to make the point that in order to win the Grand National, the horse must be a thoroughbred (i.e. have the guts and stamina of a thoroughbred), and that no grade horse can compete in this kind of situation. The whole premise of the book was that the grade piebald, The Pie, SPOILER ALERT for those who have lived under a rock for the last 50 years, won the race in spite of being ridden by a gurr-ull AND being a grade horse. The film used a very showy chestnut thoroughbred and called it The Pie, which defeated the entire point of the story. Makes for scenic shots but disgusts those of us who read and enjoyed the book.

    1. There is, if I recall correctly – I don’t have a copy on hand – an author’s note that explains that before a certain date any equine could race, including a zebra, but I agree with you 100% about the film ruining the premise. BTW, the horse used in the movie was King Charles, a grandson of Man O’ War.

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