On Translating Bob, Son of Battle

Lydia Davis at The Believer:

The 1898 children’s classic known in America as ​Bob, Son of Battle ​and in England as ​Owd Bob: The Grey Dog of Kenmuir​, by Alfred Ollivant, was long declared—and still is considered, by some—one of the great dog stories of all time, if not the greatest. One reviewer, E.V. Lucas, writing in ​The Northern Counties Magazine ​soon after the book was published, felt that this was the first time “full justice” had been done to a dog as a character in fiction. He declared, “Owd Bob​ is more than a dog story; it is a dog epic.”

Bob, Son of Battle​ is set in the county of Cumbria, in northern England, in the wild Daleland country close to the Scottish border, within a sheepherding community. The plot centers upon the rivalry between two sheepdogs—the noble Owd Bob, last of a long line of champions, gentle and patient; and the pugnacious, ill-tempered, ugly mongrel Red Wull—along with their masters and a boy who is caught in the middle, the son of one man but devoted to the other. Depicted in the most extreme terms throughout is the contrast between the character of the good master, James Moore, with his good dog, Owd Bob, and that of the violent father, M’Adam, with his mongrel, Red Wull, though both dogs and both masters are extraordinarily adept at the exacting skill of herding sheep.

more here.