Harper Lee

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Harper Lee
HarperLee 2007Nov05.jpg
Lee on November 5, 2007
BornNelle Harper Lee
(1926-04-28)April 28, 1926
Monroeville, Alabama, U.S.
DiedFebruary 19, 2016(2016-02-19) (aged 89)
Monroeville, Alabama, U.S.
Pen nameHarper Lee
Occupation Novelist
NationalityAmerican
Education University of Alabama
Period1960–2016
GenreLiterature, fiction
Literary movement Southern Gothic
Notable works To Kill a Mockingbird
Go Set a Watchman

Signature Harper Lee signature.svg

Nelle Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 February 19, 2016) was an American novelist widely known for To Kill a Mockingbird , published in 1960. Immediately successful, it won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature. Though Lee had only published this single book, in 2007 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature. [1] Additionally, Lee received numerous honorary degrees, though she declined to speak on those occasions. She was also known for assisting her close friend Truman Capote in his research for the book In Cold Blood (1966). [2] Capote was the basis for the character Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird. [3]

A novelist is an author or writer of novels, though often novelists also write in other genres of both fiction and non-fiction. Some novelists are professional novelists, thus make a living writing novels and other fiction, while others aspire to support themselves in this way or write as an avocation. Most novelists struggle to get their debut novel published, but once published they often continue to be published, although very few become literary celebrities, thus gaining prestige or a considerable income from their work.

<i>To Kill a Mockingbird</i> 1960 novel by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. Instantly successful, widely read in high schools and middle schools in the United States, it has become a classic of modern American literature, winning the Pulitzer Prize. The plot and characters are loosely based on Lee's observations of her family, her neighbors and an event that occurred near her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, in 1936, when she was 10 years old.

Pulitzer Prize U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature, and musical composition

The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American (Hungarian-born) Joseph Pulitzer who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher, and is administered by Columbia University in New York City. Prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories. In twenty of the categories, each winner receives a certificate and a US$15,000 cash award. The winner in the public service category of the journalism competition is awarded a gold medal.

Contents

The plot and characters of To Kill a Mockingbird are loosely based on Lee's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The novel deals with the irrationality of adult attitudes towards race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s, as depicted through the eyes of two children. The novel was inspired by racist attitudes in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

Deep South cultural and geographic subregion in the Southern United States

The Deep South is a cultural and geographic subregion in the Southern United States. Historically, it was differentiated as those states most dependent on plantations and slave societies during the pre-Civil War period. The Deep South is commonly referred to as the Cotton States, given that the production of cotton was a primary cash crop.

Monroeville, Alabama City in Alabama, United States

Monroeville is a city in Monroe County, Alabama, United States, the county seat of Monroe County. At the 2010 census its population was 6,519.

Another novel, Go Set a Watchman , was written in the mid-1950s and published in July 2015 as a "sequel", though it was later confirmed to be To Kill a Mockingbird's first draft. [4] [5] [6]

<i>Go Set a Watchman</i> 2015 novel by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman is a novel by Harper Lee published on July 14, 2015 by HarperCollins, United States and William Heinemann, United Kingdom. Although written before her first and only other published novel, the Pulitzer Prize–winning To Kill a Mockingbird—and initially promoted by its publisher as a sequel—it is now accepted as being a first draft of the famous novel, with many passages being used again in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Early life

Nelle Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama [7] where she grew up as the youngest of four children of Frances Cunningham (Finch) and Amasa Coleman Lee. [8] Her parents chose her middle name, Harper, to honor pediatrician Dr. William W. Harper, of Selma, Alabama, who saved the life of her sister Louise. [9] Her first name, Nelle, was her grandmother's name spelled backwards and the name she used; [10] Harper Lee being primarily her pen name. [10] Lee's mother was a homemaker; her father, a former newspaper editor, and proprietor, practiced law and served in the Alabama State Legislature from 1926 to 1938. Before A.C. Lee became a title lawyer, he once defended two black men accused of murdering a white storekeeper. Both clients, a father, and son, were hanged. [11] Lee had three siblings: Alice Finch Lee (1911–2014), [12] Louise Lee Conner (1916–2009), and Edwin Lee (1920–1951). [13]

Amasa Coleman Lee was an American politician and lawyer.

A pen name is a pseudonym adopted by an author and printed on the title page or by-line of their works in place of their "real" name. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise their gender, to distance an author from some or all of their previous works, to protect the author from retribution for their writings, to combine more than one author into a single author, or for any of a number of reasons related to the marketing or aesthetic presentation of the work. The author's name may be known only to the publisher or may come to be common knowledge.

While enrolled at Monroe County High School, Lee developed an interest in English literature. After graduating from high school in 1944, [8] she attended the then all-female Huntingdon College in Montgomery for a year, then transferred to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where she studied law for several years and wrote for the university newspaper, but did not complete a degree. [8] In the summer of 1948, Lee attended a summer school in European civilization at Oxford University in England, financed by her father, who hoped – in vain, as it turned out – that the experience would make her more interested in her legal studies in Tuscaloosa. [14]

Monroe County High School is a public high school in Monroeville, Monroe County, Alabama. It is part of the Monroe County School District.

Huntingdon College

Huntingdon College is a private liberal arts college in Montgomery, Alabama. It was founded in 1854 and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Montgomery, Alabama Capital of Alabama

Montgomery is the capital city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County. Named for Richard Montgomery, it stands beside the Alabama River, on the coastal Plain of the Gulf of Mexico. In the 2010 Census, Montgomery's population was 205,764. It is the second most populous city in Alabama, after Birmingham, and is the 118th most populous in the United States. The Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area's population in 2010 was estimated at 374,536; it is the fourth largest in the state and 136th among United States metropolitan areas.

To Kill a Mockingbird

I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers, but at the same time I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I'd expected.

Harper Lee, quoted in Newquist, 1964 [15]

In 1949, Lee moved to New York City and took a job as an airline reservation agent, writing fiction in her spare time. [8] Having written several long stories, Lee found an agent in November 1956. The following month, at Michael Brown's East 50th Street townhouse, she received a gift of a year's wages from friends with a note: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas." [16]

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Michael Brown (writer) American writer, composer, and musician

Michael Brown was an American composer, lyricist, writer, director, producer, and performer. He was born in Mexia, Texas. His musical career began in New York cabaret, performing first at Le Ruban Bleu. In the 1960s, he was a producer of industrial musicals for major American corporations such as J.C. Penney and DuPont. For the DuPont pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Brown wrote and produced a musical revue “The Wonderful World of Chemistry,” staged 48 times a day by two simultaneous casts in adjacent theaters. For years, he maintained a reunion directory of the cast and crew, which included Robert Downey, Sr. as a stage manager. 2005 mailing: “After all, it was a remarkable time in all of our lives. We can be fairly certain nothing like it will be seen again. Love all round, Mike.” Several of his songs have entered the American repertoire, including "Lizzie Borden" and "The John Birch Society," which were popularized by the Chad Mitchell Trio. Children know him best as the author of three Christmas books about Santa’s helper, Santa Mouse.

Origin

In the spring of 1957, a 31-year-old Lee delivered the manuscript for Go Set a Watchman to her agent to send out to publishers, including the now-defunct J. B. Lippincott Company, which eventually bought it. [17] At Lippincott, the novel fell into the hands of Therese von Hohoff Torrey—known professionally as Tay Hohoff. Hohoff was impressed. "[T]he spark of the true writer flashed in every line", she would later recount in a corporate history of Lippincott. [17] But as Hohoff saw it, the manuscript was by no means fit for publication. It was, as she described it, "more a series of anecdotes than a fully conceived novel". [17] During the next couple of years, she led Lee from one draft to the next until the book finally achieved its finished form and was retitled To Kill a Mockingbird. [17]

Like many unpublished authors, Lee was unsure of her talents. "I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told," Lee said in a statement in 2015 about the evolution from Watchman to Mockingbird. [17] Hohoff offers a more detailed characterization of the process in the Lippincott corporate history: "After a couple of false starts, the story-line, interplay of characters, and fall of emphasis grew clearer, and with each revision—there were many minor changes as the story grew in strength and in her own vision of it—the true stature of the novel became evident." (In 1978, Lippincott was acquired by Harper & Row, which became HarperCollins, publisher of Watchman.) [17]

There appeared to be a natural give and take between author and editor. "When she disagreed with a suggestion, we talked it out, sometimes for hours," Hohoff wrote. "And sometimes she came around to my way of thinking, sometimes I to hers, sometimes the discussion would open up an entirely new line of country." [17]

External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg After Words interview with Shields on Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, July 11, 2015, C-SPAN

As for her relationship with Lee, it's clear that Hohoff provided more than just editorial guidance. One winter night, as Charles J. Shields recounts in Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, Lee threw her manuscript out her window and into the snow, before calling Hohoff in tears. "Tay told her to march outside immediately and pick up the pages," Shields wrote. [17]

When the novel was finally ready, the author opted to use the name "Harper Lee", rather than risk having her first name Nelle be misidentified as "Nellie". [18]

Published July 11, 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird was an immediate bestseller and won great critical acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. It remains a bestseller, with more than 30 million copies in print. In 1999, it was voted "Best Novel of the Century" in a poll by the Library Journal . [19]

Autobiographical details in the novel

Like Lee, the tomboy Scout of the novel is the daughter of a respected small-town Alabama attorney. Scout's friend, Dill, was inspired by Lee's childhood friend and neighbor, Truman Capote; [11] Lee, in turn, is the model for a character in Capote's first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms , published in 1948. Although the plot of Lee's novel involves an unsuccessful legal defense similar to one undertaken by her attorney father, the 1931 landmark Scottsboro Boys interracial rape case may also have helped to shape Lee's social conscience. [20]

While Lee herself downplayed autobiographical parallels in the book, Truman Capote, mentioning the character Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird, described details he considered autobiographical: "In my original version of Other Voices, Other Rooms I had that same man living in the house that used to leave things in the trees, and then I took that out. He was a real man, and he lived just down the road from us. We used to go and get those things out of the trees. Everything she wrote about it is absolutely true. But you see, I take the same thing and transfer it into some Gothic dream, done in an entirely different way." [21]

After To Kill a Mockingbird

Middle years

After completing To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee accompanied Capote to Holcomb, Kansas, to assist him in researching what they thought would be an article on a small town's response to the murder of a farmer and his family. Capote expanded the material into his best-selling book, In Cold Blood , published in 1966.

From the time of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird until her death in 2016, Lee granted almost no requests for interviews or public appearances and, with the exception of a few short essays, published nothing further, until 2015. She did work on a follow-up novel—The Long Goodbye—but eventually filed it away unfinished. [22] During the mid-1980s, she began a factual book about an Alabama serial murderer, but also put it aside when she was not satisfied. [22] Her withdrawal from public life prompted unfounded speculation that new publications were in the works.

Lee said of the 1962 Academy Award–winning screenplay adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird by Horton Foote: "I think it is one of the best translations of a book to film ever made." [23] She became a friend of Gregory Peck, and after his death remained close to the actor's family; Peck's grandson, Harper Peck Voll, is named after her. [24]

Peck won an Oscar for his portrayal of Atticus Finch, the father of the novel's narrator, Scout.

In January 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Lee to the National Council on the Arts. [25]

In 1966, Lee wrote a letter to the editor in response to the attempts of a Richmond, Virginia, area school board to ban To Kill a Mockingbird as "immoral literature":

Recently I have received echoes down this way of the Hanover County School Board's activities, and what I've heard makes me wonder if any of its members can read.

Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that To Kill a Mockingbird spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners. To hear that the novel is 'immoral' has made me count the years between now and 1984, for I have yet to come across a better example of doublethink.

I feel, however, that the problem is one of illiteracy, not Marxism. Therefore I enclose a small contribution to the Beadle Bumble Fund that I hope will be used to enroll the Hanover County School Board in any first grade of its choice. [11]

James J. Kilpatrick, the editor of The Richmond News Leader , started the Beadle Bumble fund to pay fines for victims of what he termed "despots on the bench". He built the fund using contributions from readers and later used it to defend books as well as people. After the board in Richmond ordered schools to dispose of all copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, Kilpatrick wrote, "A more moral novel scarcely could be imagined." In the name of the Beadle Bumble fund, he then offered free copies to children who wrote in, and by the end of the first week, he had given away 81 copies. [26]

When Lee attended the 1983 Alabama History and Heritage Festival in Eufaula, Alabama, she presented the essay "Romance and High Adventure". [27]

Late in 1978, Lee spent some time in Alexander City, Alabama, researching a true-crime book called The Reverend. [28]

Lee lived for 40 years at 433 East 82nd Street in Manhattan. [29]

2005–2014

In March 2005, Lee arrived in Philadelphia  – her first trip to the city since signing with publisher Lippincott in 1960 – to receive the inaugural ATTY Award for positive depictions of attorneys in the arts from the Spector Gadon & Rosen Foundation. [30] At the urging of Peck's widow, Veronique Peck, Lee traveled by train from Monroeville to Los Angeles in 2005 to accept the Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award. [31] She also attended luncheons for students who have written essays based on her work, held annually at the University of Alabama. [23] [32] On May 21, 2006, she accepted an honorary degree from the University of Notre Dame, where graduating seniors saluted her with copies of To Kill a Mockingbird during the ceremony. [33]

On May 7, 2006, Lee wrote a letter to Oprah Winfrey (published in O, The Oprah Magazine in July 2006) about her love of books as a child and her dedication to the written word: "Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books." [34]

While attending an August 20, 2007, ceremony inducting four members into the Alabama Academy of Honor, Lee declined an invitation to address the audience, saying: "Well, it's better to be silent than to be a fool." [35] [36]

Lee being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, November 5, 2007 Harper Lee Medal.jpg
Lee being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, November 5, 2007

On November 5, 2007, George W. Bush presented Lee with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest civilian award in the United States and recognizes individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors". [37] [38]

In 2010, President Barack Obama awarded Lee the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given by the United States government for "outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts". [39]

In a 2011 interview with an Australian newspaper, Rev. Dr. Thomas Lane Butts said Lee now lived in an assisted-living facility, wheelchair-bound, partially blind and deaf, and suffering from memory loss. Butts also shared that Lee told him why she never wrote again: "Two reasons: one, I wouldn't go through the pressure and publicity I went through with To Kill a Mockingbird for any amount of money. Second, I have said what I wanted to say, and I will not say it again." [40]

On May 3, 2013, Lee had filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court to regain the copyright to To Kill a Mockingbird, seeking unspecified damages from a son-in-law of her former literary agent and related entities. Lee claimed that the man "engaged in a scheme to dupe" her into assigning him the copyright on the book in 2007 when her hearing and eyesight were in decline, and she was residing in an assisted-living facility after having suffered a stroke. [41] [42] [43] In September 2013, attorneys for both sides announced a settlement of the lawsuit. [44]

In February 2014, Lee settled a lawsuit against the Monroe County Heritage Museum for an undisclosed amount. The suit alleged that the museum had used her name and the title To Kill a Mockingbird to promote itself and to sell souvenirs without her consent. [45] [46] Lee's attorneys had filed a trademark application on August 19, 2013, to which the museum filed an opposition. This prompted Lee's attorney to file a lawsuit on October 15 that same year, "which takes issue the museum's website and gift shop, which it accuses of 'palming off its goods', including T-shirts, coffee mugs other various trinkets with Mockingbird brands." [47]

2015: Go Set a Watchman

According to Lee's lawyer Tonja Carter, following an initial meeting to appraise Lee's assets in 2011, she re-examined Lee's safe-deposit box in 2014 and found the manuscript for Go Set a Watchman . After contacting Lee and reading the manuscript, she passed it on to Lee's agent Andrew Nurnberg. [48] [49]

On February 3, 2015, it was announced that HarperCollins would publish Go Set a Watchman, [50] which includes versions of many of the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird. According to a HarperCollins press release, it was originally thought that the Watchman manuscript was lost. [51] According to Nurnberg, Mockingbird was originally intended to be the first book of a trilogy: "They discussed publishing Mockingbird first, Watchman last, and a shorter connecting novel between the two." [52]

Jonathan Mahler's account in The New York Times of how Watchman was only ever really considered to be the first draft of Mockingbird makes this assertion seem unlikely. [17] Evidence where the same passages exist in both books, in many cases word for word, also further refutes this assertion. [53]

The book was controversially [4] published in July 2015 as a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, though it has been confirmed to be the first draft of the latter, with many narrative incongruities, repackaged and released as a completely separate work. [4] The book is set some 20 years after the time period depicted in Mockingbird, when Scout returns as an adult from New York to visit her father in Maycomb, Alabama. [54] It alludes to Scout's view of her father, Atticus Finch, as the moral compass ("watchman") of Maycomb, [55] and, according to the publisher, how she finds upon her return to Maycomb, that she "is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand her father's attitude toward society and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood." [56]

Not all reviewers have such a harsh opinion about the publication of the sequel book. Michiko Kakutani in Books of The Times article [57] finds that the book "makes for disturbing reading" when Scout is shocked to find... that her beloved father... has been affiliating with raving anti-integration, anti-black crazies, and the reader shares her horror and confusion... Though it lacks the lyricism... the portions of "Watchman" dealing with Scout's childhood and her adult romance with Henry capture the daily rhythms of life in a small town and are peppered with portraits of minor characters" and she mentions that "Students of writing will find 'Watchman' fascinating." While not fully praising the book she finds the publication of "Watchman" an important step stone in understanding Harper Lee's work. [57]

The publication of the novel (announced by her lawyer) raised concerns over why Lee, who for 55 years had maintained that she would never write another book, would suddenly choose to publish again. In February 2015, the State of Alabama, through its Human Resources Department, launched an investigation into whether Lee was competent enough to consent to the publishing of Go Set a Watchman. [10] The investigation found that the claims of coercion and elder abuse were unfounded, [58] and, according to Lee's lawyer, Lee was "happy as hell" with the publication. [59]

External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Discussion with Marja Mills on The Mockingbird Next Door, July 23, 2014, C-SPAN

This characterization, however, was contested by many of Lee's friends. [4] [60] [61] Marja Mills, author of The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, a friend and former neighbor, painted a very different picture. [62] In her piece for The Washington Post , "The Harper Lee I knew", [60] she quoted AliceLee's sister, whom she described as "gatekeeper, advisor, protector" for most of Lee's adult lifeas saying, "Poor Nelle Harper can't see and can't hear and will sign anything put before her by anyone in whom she has confidence." She made note that Watchman was announced just two and a half months after Alice's death and that all correspondence to and from Lee went through her new attorney. She described Lee as "in a wheelchair in an assisted living center, nearly deaf and blind, with a uniformed guard posted at the door" and her visitors "restricted to those on an approved list." [60]

New York Times columnist Joe Nocera continued this argument. [4] He also took issue with how the book was promoted by the 'Murdoch Empire' as a "newly discovered" novel, attesting that the other people in the Sothebys meeting insisted that Lee's attorney was present in 2011, when Lee's former agent (who was subsequently fired) and the Sotheby's specialist found the manuscript. They said she knew full well that it was the same one submitted to Tay Hohoff in the 1950s that was reworked into Mockingbird, and that Lee's lawyer Tonja Carter had been sitting on the discovery, waiting for the moment when she, and not Alice, would be in charge of Harper Lee's affairs. [4]

Stephen Peck, son of actor Gregory Peck, also expressed concern. Responding to the question of how he thought his father would have reacted to the book, he said that he "would have appreciated the discussion the book has prompted, but would have been troubled by the decision to publish it." [61] Peck noted that his father considered Lee a dear friend. She gave him the pocket watch that had belonged to her father, on whom she modeled Atticus and that Gregory wore it the night he won an Oscar for the role. [61] Stephen, who is president and chief executive of the United States Veterans Initiative, went on to say "I think he would have felt very protective of her," and that his father would have counseled Lee not to publish Watchman because it could taint Mockingbird, one of the most beloved novels (in) American history. [61]

"Not to protect himself, but to protect her," Peck said, also noting that the decision to publish it was made not long after the death of Alice Lee, who had long handled Harper Lee's affairs. "You just don't know how that decision was made. ... If he had to, he would have flown down to talk to her. I have no doubt." Later in the article, which was posted in The Wall Street Journal , he said, "To me, it was an unedited draft. Do you want to put that early version out there or do you want to put it in the University of Alabama archives for scholars to look at?" [61]

Death

Lee died in her sleep on the morning of February 19, 2016, aged 89. [63] [64] Prior to her death, she lived in Monroeville, Alabama. [65] On February 20, her funeral was held at First United Methodist Church in Monroeville. [66] The service was attended by close family and friends, and the eulogy was given by Wayne Flynt. [67]

After her death, The New York Times filed a lawsuit that argued that since Lee's will was filed in a probate court in Alabama that it should be part of the public record. They argued that wills filed in a probate court are considered part of the public record, and that Lee's should follow suit. [68]

Fictional portrayals

Harper Lee was portrayed by Catherine Keener in the film Capote (2005), by Sandra Bullock in the film Infamous (2006), and by Tracey Hoyt in the TV movie Scandalous Me: The Jacqueline Susann Story (1998). [69] In the adaptation of Truman Capote's novel Other Voices, Other Rooms (1995), the character of Idabel Thompkins, who was inspired by Capote's memories of Lee as a child, was played by Aubrey Dollar.

Works

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Since the publication ofTo Kill a Mockingbird in 1960, there have been many references and allusions to it in popular culture. The book has been internationally popular for more than a half century, selling more than 30 million copies in 40 languages. It currently (2013) sells 750,000 copies a year and is widely read in schools in America and abroad. Harper Lee and her publisher did not expect To Kill a Mockingbird to be such a huge success. Since it was first published in 1960, it has sold close to one million copies a year and has been the second-best-selling backlist title in the United States. Whether they like the book or not, readers can remember when and where they were the first time they opened the book. Because of this, Mockingbird has become a pillar for students around the country and symbol of justice and the reminiscence of childhood. To Kill a Mockingbird is not solely about the cultural legal practices of Atticus Finch, but about the fatherly virtues he held towards his children and the way Scout viewed him as a father.

Atticus Finch fictional character

Atticus Finch is a fictional character in Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird. A preliminary version of the character also appears in the novel Go Set a Watchman, written in the mid 1950s but not published until 2015. Atticus is a lawyer and resident of the fictional Maycomb County, Alabama, and the father of Jeremy "Jem" Finch and Jean Louise "Scout" Finch. Lee based the character on her own father, Amasa Coleman Lee, an Alabama lawyer, who, like Atticus, represented black defendants in a highly publicized criminal trial. Book Magazine's list of The 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900 names Finch as the seventh best fictional character of 20th-century literature. In 2003 the American Film Institute voted Atticus Finch, as portrayed in an Academy Award-winning performance by Gregory Peck in the 1962 film adaptation, as the greatest hero of all American cinema. In the 2018 Broadway stage play adapted by Aaron Sorkin, Finch is portrayed by Jeff Daniels.

<i>Other Voices, Other Rooms</i> (novel) novel by Truman Capote

Other Voices, Other Rooms is a 1948 novel by Truman Capote. It is written in the Southern Gothic style and is notable for its atmosphere of isolation and decadence.

Old Monroe County Courthouse historic courthouse building in Monroeville, Alabama

The Old Monroe County Courthouse is a historic courthouse building in Monroeville, Alabama that served as the Monroe County courthouse from 1903 to 1967.

Therese von Hohoff Torrey was an American literary editor with the publishing firm J. B. Lippincott & Co.. Strong-willed and forceful, she worked closely with author Harper Lee over the course of nearly three years to give final shape to her classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird. After the commercial and literary success of the novel, she shielded Harper Lee from the intense pressure to write another one. She retired from a senior editorial position at the firm in 1973 and died the following year.

Claudia Durst Johnson is a literary scholar best known for her work on the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, introducing the idea of the novel's gothicism and gothic satire. In the process of her research she befriended the author, Harper Lee. When the city of Chicago organized a One City One Book program in 2001 based on To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee was unavailable to speak, so Johnson was invited to Chicago to present the book to the city.

The Monroe Journal is a weekly newspaper from Monroeville, Alabama serving the city and surrounding area.

References

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