The Adventures of Stumpy
By Alex P Stagg, on 3 June 2016
Although the vast majority of our books are about audiology, deaf history or deaf culture, we have a few anomalies which seem at first glance to have fallen into our collection by happenstance. The Comenius book we blogged about a couple of weeks ago, for example, has little to do with our core remit. Another book which does not immediately seem to have anything to do with deafness is The Adventures of Stumpy (1938), purportedly by one Stubby. The connection, perhaps rather tangential, is that Stumpy has a preface by Selwyn Oxley, Organising Secretary and Librarian for the Guild of St John of Beverley for the Deaf, and the source of many of the books and photographs in our collection*.
THE CONVASLESCENT STUMPY
Stubby tells Stumpy’s story from his infancy to middle age, observing his progress with a sardonic eye and wit: which is no surprise from a published Feline Author (Stubby’s previous books include Stubby – Story of a Cat and More About Stubby).
As you’d expect from the author of two volumes of autobiography, Stubby is a very self-centred narrator: when Stumpy is struck down by a particularly nasty illness, Stubby declares ‘it was only then that I realised I was not the only one [his owner] loved’. Stumpy wasn’t the luckiest cat: apart from a clot on the brain, for which there’s an X-ray in the book, he also broke a leg, scorched himself walking into a fire, lost his whiskers, and lost his sense of smell (this last though fortunately regained). The book describes the first ten years of Stumpy’s life, and I hope I don’t spoil anyone’s appetite for the book when I reveal he’s alive at the conclusion of the narrative albeit with rather fewer than nine lives left.
This is a charming book, for cat lovers: and seems to descend from Hoffman’s (fictional) Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr.
You will find The Adventures of Stumpy in our biography section, under ‘S’ for Stubby.
*Selwyn Oxley’s wife Kate, who was herself deaf, was the compiler.