What does it all mean? Scholars study ‘The Wizard of Oz’

BY LISA GUTIERREZ THE KANSAS CITY STAR 08/22/2014 3:25 PM   08/24/2014 7:37 PM Read…

Georgia (Aug 25, 2014) — 08/22/2014 3:25 PM 

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http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/wizard-of-oz/article1277530.html

 08/24/2014 7:37 PM



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Here’s an ice-breaker to throw out at your next party: Was “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum a parable on Populism?

Either people’s eyes will glaze over or your guests will dive right in, as scholars have been doing for years.

Baum’s 1900 book, which inspired the Judy Garland movie of 1939, has been dissected cover to cover. Scholarly papers, book-length studies and biographies have all searched for its meanings.

Even noted American author Gore Vidal was intrigued and wrote a series of lengthy essays in 1977 about the books in the New York Review of Books.



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Is it social satire? Political allegory? Or fairy tale? Maybe, maybe and definitely yes.

“We can read between L. Frank Baum’s lines and see various images of the United States at the turn of the century,” one of those scholars, David B. Parker, wrote in the Journal of the Georgia Association of Historians.

Parker, assistant chairman of the department of history and philosophy at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, likens “Oz” to another influential book.

“The Bible is very rich with events and people, and people can find anything they want in the Bible. You can make it prove anything you want,” he says. “And I think that’s one of the real accomplishments of the (‘Oz’) book.” …



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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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