To Kill a Mocking Bird
Published: Heinemann, London, 1960.
Maroon boards with silver title to spine, pictorial dust wrapper designed by Fratini, black and white photograph of the author by Michael Brown on the lower board; 8vo.
First British edition.
A near fine copy of one of the greatest twentieth century American novels.
Harper Lee (April 28, 1926, Monroeville, Alabama, U.S.)
Related to Robert E. Lee's family, Harper Lee was the daughter of a lawyer apparently rather like the hero-father of her novel in his sound citizenship and warmheartedness. Lee attended the University of Alabama (spending a year as an exchange student at Oxford University) but left for New York City before obtaining her own law degree. In New York she worked as an airlines reservationist but soon received financial aid from friends that allowed her to write full-time. With the help of an editor, she transformed a series of short stories into To Kill a Mockingbird, her only much-acclaimed novel published in 1960.
The narrator of the novel is lawyer Atticus Finch's six-year-old daughter “Scout.” Scout and her brother Jem learn the principles of racial justice and social tolerance from their father, whose just and compassionate acts include an unpopular defense of a black man falsely accused of raping a white girl. They also develop tolerance and the strength to follow their convictions in their acquaintance and eventual friendship with a recluse who has been demonized by the community. To Kill a Mockingbird received a Pulitzer Prize in 1961. Criticism of its tendency to sermonize has been matched by praise of its insight and stylistic effectiveness. It became a memorable film in 1962 and was filmed again in 1997.
After a few years in New York, Lee divided her time between that city and her hometown of Monroeville. In addition to her novel she wrote a few short essays, including the 1983 “Romance and High Adventure,” devoted to Alabama history.
Why is To Kill A Mockingbird so popular?
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