Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Pyg.  The Memoirs of Toby the Learned Pig is edited by Russell Potter and is just what the title tells the reader it is - a memoir of a learned pig.

Toby is the first learned pig.  Others since have imitated him or performed lesser tricks. The learned pig is a pig taught to respond to commands in such a way that it appears to be able to answer questions by picking up cards.  Toby is actually a sapient pig who has learned to read and write, although he does, of necessity,  perform for a living.

Toby lived in late eighteenth-century England. After winning the blue ribbon at the Salford Livestock Fair and escaping his fate at the hands and knife of the butcher, Toby and the young human friend who rescues him, join a performing troupe, where Toby learns tricks and, then, learns to read.  Toby  goes on to study at Oxford and Edinburgh—meeting and interacting with such well known people as Samuel Johnson, Robert Burns, and William Blake—before finally writing his own life story.  Toby is wise and witty.

The editor teaches Victorian literature, the history of Arctic exploration, and early media at Rhode Island College. and has the historical background and the sense of humor to create a great read.  He maintains a blog if you want to learn more: http://pygnovel.blogspot.com/

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