Leeds Beckett University post-colonial literature expert Emily Zobel Marshall has accused Peter Rabbit author Beatrix Potter of upholding colonialism.

“While rereading another collection of children’s stories featuring the ‘trickster hero’ Brer Rabbit — for my own book on how these folktales were introduced to North America by enslaved Africans — it became clear to me the similarities between Beatrix Potter’s tales and the Brer Rabbit stories demand further consideration,” said Marshall in an op-ed in the Conversation.

“The tales of Brer Rabbit can be traced back to pre-colonial Africa, from where they were transported to the plantations of America by enslaved people.”

The stories were first adapted for a white audience in the late 19th century by American journalist and folklorist Joel Chandler Harris.

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