Lee, Harper: To Kill a Mockingbird
(researched by J.C. Luckey)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
J.P. Lippincott Company Philadelphia & New York 1960
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first edition available for examination is an advance copy, still in its wrappers.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
i.-viii., 9-296 numbered 148 leaves
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
This edition does not have an introduction.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
This edition does not have any illustrations.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Since this edition is the advance copy still in its wrappers the appearance of the book is not very attratctive. The cover consists of text written by the publisher to possibly a distributor. (See cove
r image.) The typography itself is a very readable serif font. The graphics at the beginning of chapters (flowery boxes) are identical to those in other early editions of the book.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The paper is a creamy color. It feels thick, yet
soft. There are no watermarks or visible grains on the paper
11 Description of binding(s)
The wrappers for this edition are made of stiff cream paper. The pages are stitched together in 10 clusters, which are glued to the temporary paper binding.
12 Transcription of title page
HARPER LEE | TO KILL | A | MOCK
INGBIRD | [publisher's flower mark] | J.B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY | PHILADELPHIA & NEW YORK
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
Not available.
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
According to Bibliofind, a first edition of this book with a dust jacket is being sold for $1750. A Book Club edition for the summer of 1960 sells for approximately $350 as of February 3, 1998.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
J.B. Lippincott published numerous editions of To Kill a Mockingbird. Pictured below is the first sold edition which is held in the Rare Collections roo
m of the Library of Congress. Since the advance copy still in its wrappers is considered to be the first edition according to the National Union Catalog, this is then qualified as a subsequent edition by this publisher. The only distinguishing feature to
this edition is its elaborate cover.
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
At least 13 impressions of the first edition. It went into its third printing before its July 11 publishing date. In its fourth printing by the time it made the Best Seller List (September 5, 1960).
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Franklin Watts (1960) Hienemann (1960) Ulverscroft (1960) Warner (1960) Popular Library (1962) Readerís Digest Association (1963) Large Print Edition, National Aid to Visually Handicapped (1965) McClelland and Stewart Limited (1965) Coles Publishing Company (1982) Macmillan (1987) Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Inc. (1989) Buccaneer Books, Inc. (1991) Harper & Row (1991) Minerva (1991) G.K. Hall (1992) William A. Thomas Braille Bookstore (1993) Chelsea House Publishers (1995) 35th Anniversary Edition, Harper Collins (1995)
6 Last date in print?
Still in print.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
11,113,809 total combined 10,850,000 paperback
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
Not available yet.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Harper Lee's | first novel sets | the whole book | world on fire!| THE REASON: It makes | you so glad to be alive.| [picture of Harper Lee]| Weeks before publication the book world was talking about To| Kill A Mockingbird. Those who had read advance copies of Harper | Lee's novel-among them Truman Capote, Shirley Ann Grau, and | Phylliss McGinley-poured out their enthusiasm in letters to the | author and her publisher. The grapevine began humming with excite- | ment. Booksellers heard it and increased their advance orders. Book- | clubs heard it- and both the Literary guild and The Reader's Digest | Book Club selected To Kill A Mockingbird for their members. Book- | sellers said "This is the book we are going to recommend to | everybody." |[picture of book] HERE IT IS to delight you and enroll you in the com- | pany of those who are telling the world how glad they are to have read To Kill A Mockingbird. | WHY THEY ENJOYED IT: | TRUMAN CAPOTE: "Someone rare has written this | very fine first novel, a writer with the liveliest sense of |life and the warmest, most authentic humour. A touch- | ing book; and so funny, so likeable." | SHIRLEY ANN GRAU: "To Kill A Mockingbird was so much fun. It really does cathch the feel of a tiny | Southern town and I can't think of any book that has | done that since Member of the Wedding." | PHYLLIS McGINLEY: "A wonderfully intersting | and warm-hearted noble and I enjoyed every word | of it. Southerners, like the Irish , seem born with the | storyteller's gift." | MARTHA JOHNSON: Francis Scott Key Book Shop, | Washington D.C., "I can't say in complete sincerity that | of all the novels I have read in my years in the book | business, Harper Lee has written the one I would be | proudest to have done myself. | [summary of plot]| TO KILL A Mockingbird |Harper Lee | LIPPINCOTT Philadelphia and New York At all bookstores, $3.95|
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A21019980219232508.jpg
11 Other promotion
none
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Adapted for film by Horton Foote and released in 1962. California, Universal Studios starring Gregory Peck Adapted for theater by Christopher Sergel Chicago, Dramatic Publishing Company (1970) produced in England (1987) Study Notes Monarch Notes: Macmillan General Reference (1984) Max Notes: Research and Education (1994) Green Leaf Classics: Incentives for Learning (1994) Cliffs Notes, Inc. (1994) Bloomís Notes: Chelsea House Publishers (1996) Sound Versions Recorded Books, Inc. (1960) Miller-Brody Productions (1975) Cram Cassettes (1988) Books on Tape (1991)
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Translated into ten languages. Including: Spanish--Buenos Aires: Bruguera (1960) Hebrew--Tel-Aviv: Am oved (1964) Malagasy-- Andro Vaovao (1968) German-- Hamburg: Rowohlt (1970) Chinese--Kyonggi-do Píaju-gun: Ch-ongdam Munhaksa (1989) Korean--Soul-si: Hanígyore (1992) Japanese--Tokyo: Kukrashi no Technosha (1993)
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
None
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
None
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Nelle Harper Lee was born April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama to Amasa Coleman and Frances Lee. Her father, a lawyer, is related to Southern hero and Civil War General, Robert E. Lee. Lee's mother Frances' mai
den name is Finch, the last name of the fictional characters in "To Kill a Mockingbird."
This American woman, attended Huntington College from 1944-1945 in Montgomery, Alabama. After only a year at Huntington she transferred to the University of Alabama, where she stayed until 1950 except for a year abroad a Oxford University. She left the U
niversity of Alabama only six months short of a law degree. Writing has been one of Lee's interests since the age of seven. At the University of Alabama she wrote satires, editorial columns and reviews for campus publications. She went on to explore a career in this field by moving to New York City in 1950. Here s
he worked as an airline reservations clerk with Eastern Air Lines and British and Overseas Airways to earn money while she wrote short stories. "To Kill a Mockingbird" began as one of these short stories that she presented to a literary agent. After being encouraged to resubmit it as a novel, Lee rewrote the story with the help of her editor Tay Hohoff. She was thirty-four years old by the time L
.P. Lippincott published the novel in July of 1960. This best-selling and critically acclaimed book is her only novel. During the sixties she also contributed several short articles to Vogue magazine, one entitled, "Love--In Other Words." In 1961 she published an article, "Christmas to Me," in McCalls magazine. As of 1980 she continues to write without publishing. Betwee
n 1966-1972 she was a member of the National Council on Arts. Harper Lee currently resides in Monroeville, Alabama where she enjoys golf and music in addition to writing. She can be contacted by writing her c/o McIntosh & Otis, Inc. 18 East 41 St., New York, NY 10017.
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
The contemporary reviews of To Kill a Mockingbird were extrordinarily positive. Most of the reviewers enjoyed the simple sincerity of the plot as told through the eyes of a child narrator. Much of the praise comme
nded this book on its literary value, which seems to be a significant factor in its popular success. Its popularity also seems to be associated with Lee's way of dealing so poignantly with racial issues.
Atlantic Monthly, August 1960. Booklist, September 1960. Bookmark, July 1960. Chicago Sunday Tribune, July 17, 1960. Commonweal, December 9, 1960. English Journal, October 1963 and December 1964. Guardian, December 9, 1960. Library Journal, May 15, 1960. Life, May 26, 1961. New Statesman, October 15, 1960. Newsweek, January 9, 1961. New Yorker, September 10, 1960. New York Herald Tribune Book Review, July 10, 1960. New York Times Book Review, July 10, 1960. Phylon: The Atlanta University Review of Race and Culture, June 1961. San Francisco Chronicle, July 31, 1960. Saturday Review, July 23, 1960. Times Literary Supplement, October 28, 1960.
Frank H. Lyell, "One-Taxi Town," New York Times Book Review, July 10, 1960, pg. 5, 18. One of the first reviews of this book, Lyell comments briefly on most of the issues that later criticism will draw attention towards: Lee's pleasant writing style, understanding of small town America, and her unprejudiced way of addressing race issues. H
is one unique comment was an observation that "Lee is cocking at least one eye toward Hollywood."
Harding LeMay, "Children Play; Adults Betray," New York Herald Tribune Book Review, July 10, 1960. This appears to be the first of what will eventually turn into many academic criticisms of this novel. Lemay points out how it exemplifies two prominent themes in contemporary southern fiction-- "the recollection of childhood among village eccentrics and
the spirit-corroding shame of the civilized white Southerner at the treatment of the Negro."
Richard Sullivan, "Engrossing First Novel of Rare Excellence," Chicago Sunday Tribune, July 17, 1960. Sullivan states that this novel has a strong contemporary national significance. He is impressed, as are most of the other reviewers, by the way Lee handles point of view. "The style is bright and straightforward; the unaffected young narrator uses adult
language to render the matters she deals with, but the point of view is cunningly restricted to that of a perceptive, independent child, who doesn't always understand fully what is happening, but who conveys completely, by implication, the weight and bur
den of the story." Nick Aaron Ford, Phylon: The Atlanta University Review of Race and Culture, June 1961. Ford commends Lee's novel on the basis of its coverage of racial issues. He comments, "instead of stereotyped Negroes, this novel presents living, convincing characters--neither saints nor devils, neither completely ignorant or craven or foolish, nor com
pletely wise or wholly courageous. Instead of blatant propaganda form beginning to end, the socially significance overtones do not begin to appear until the story has progressed a third of the way then they creep in unobtrusively as natural as breathing."
Ford is also one of several reviewers who makes comparisons between this novel and those of Mark Twain.
Edgar H. Schuster, "Discovering Theme and Structure in the Novel," English Journal, October 1963. Schuster addresses five thematic motifs that appear throughout the novel. These include: concerns with Jem's physiological and psychological growth; the "caste" system in Maycomb; the mockingbird; and ideas towards education and superstition.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
The contemporary reviews of To Kill a Mockingbird were extrordinarily positive. Most of the reviewers enjoyed the simple sincerity of the plot as told through the eyes of a child narrator. Much of the praise comme
nded this book on its literary value, which seems to be a significant factor in its popular success. Its popularity also seems to be associated with Lee's way of dealing so poignantly with racial issues.
Atlantic Monthly, August 1960. Booklist, September 1960. Bookmark, July 1960. Chicago Sunday Tribune, July 17, 1960. Commonweal, December 9, 1960. English Journal, October 1963 and December 1964. Guardian, December 9, 1960. Library Journal, May 15, 1960. Life, May 26, 1961. New Statesman, October 15, 1960. Newsweek, January 9, 1961. New Yorker, September 10, 1960. New York Herald Tribune Book Review, July 10, 1960. New York Times Book Review, July 10, 1960. Phylon: The Atlanta University Review of Race and Culture, June 1961. San Francisco Chronicle, July 31, 1960. Saturday Review, July 23, 1960. Times Literary Supplement, October 28, 1960.
Frank H. Lyell, "One-Taxi Town," New York Times Book Review, July 10, 1960, pg. 5, 18. One of the first reviews of this book, Lyell comments briefly on most of the issues that later criticism will draw attention towards: Lee's pleasant writing style, understanding of small town America, and her unprejudiced way of addressing race issues. H
is one unique comment was an observation that "Lee is cocking at least one eye toward Hollywood."
Harding LeMay, "Children Play; Adults Betray," New York Herald Tribune Book Review, July 10, 1960. This appears to be the first of what will eventually turn into many academic criticisms of this novel. Lemay points out how it exemplifies two prominent themes in contemporary southern fiction-- "the recollection of childhood among village eccentrics and
the spirit-corroding shame of the civilized white Southerner at the treatment of the Negro."
Richard Sullivan, "Engrossing First Novel of Rare Excellence," Chicago Sunday Tribune, July 17, 1960. Sullivan states that this novel has a strong contemporary national significance. He is impressed, as are most of the other reviewers, by the way Lee handles point of view. "The style is bright and straightforward; the unaffected young narrator uses adult
language to render the matters she deals with, but the point of view is cunningly restricted to that of a perceptive, independent child, who doesn't always understand fully what is happening, but who conveys completely, by implication, the weight and bur
den of the story." Nick Aaron Ford, Phylon: The Atlanta University Review of Race and Culture, June 1961. Ford commends Lee's novel on the basis of its coverage of racial issues. He comments, "instead of stereotyped Negroes, this novel presents living, convincing characters--neither saints nor devils, neither completely ignorant or craven or foolish, nor com
pletely wise or wholly courageous. Instead of blatant propaganda form beginning to end, the socially significance overtones do not begin to appear until the story has progressed a third of the way then they creep in unobtrusively as natural as breathing."
Ford is also one of several reviewers who makes comparisons between this novel and those of Mark Twain.
Edgar H. Schuster, "Discovering Theme and Structure in the Novel," English Journal, October 1963. Schuster addresses five thematic motifs that appear throughout the novel. These include: concerns with Jem's physiological and psychological growth; the "caste" system in Maycomb; the mockingbird; and ideas towards education and superstition.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
To Kill A Mockingbird: Popular Novel and Literary Classic
In the summer of 1961, Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird" reached success not only in its numerous appearances on the New York Times Bestseller List, but the critically acclaimed novel also won that year's Pulitzer Prize for fiction and Bestsellers maga
zine's Paperback of the Year Award in 1962. In following years its popularity did not dwindle as its ninety-four printings by 1975 made it the third best-selling novel of the century. It has never been out of print, and in a survey by the Library of Cong
ress "To Kill A Mockingbird" was found to be second only to the "Bible" as the book "most often cited as making a difference" in people's lives. In addition, its literary significance reached epic proportions. To this day, students study "To Kill A Mockin
gbird" not because it was immensely popular back in the 1960s, but because of the many reasons that make it a national literary treasure. As Jonathan Daniels' review on the inside cover of the first edition states, "?To Kill A Mockingbird' is an authentic
and nostalgic story which in rare fashion at once puts together the tenderness and the tragedy of the South. They are the inseparable ingredients of a region much reported but seldom so well understood." This review accurately sums up what will be covere
d in the book's many subsequent reviews, meaning that this is a novel through which Lee paints a touching picture of rural southern America and its racial tensions.
As Daniels indicates, one the main reasons for the novel's great success, is the picture of the South that it creates. Reviewer Frank Lyell writes, "Maycomb has its share of eccentrics and evil-doers, but Miss Lee has not tried to satisfy the current lust
for morbid, grotesque tales of Southern depravity" (New York Times Book Review, July 10, 1960).
One way that Maycomb represents Southern stereotypes is in the caste system among the white characters. They can be put into one of four classes: old aristocracy (Alexandra Finch and professionals like Atticus), middle class (Sam Levy or Braxton Underwood
), lower class (Cunninghams), and dregs (Ewells). According to Aunt Alexandra this is a gap that can never be crossed, "You can scrub Walter Cunningham till he shines, you can put him in shoes and a new suit, but he'll never be like Jem....Because--he--i
s--trash." Yet, on the other hand Lee seems to show that if there were more people in the world like Atticus Finch, there is a chance that the South would eventually change and be more fair among races and classes.
Lee's successful first novel can also be attributed to her writing style. Critic Richard Sullivan comments, "The style is bright and straightforward; the unaffected young narrator uses adult language to render the matter she deals with, but the point of v
iew is cunningly restricted to that of a perceptive, independent child, who doesn't always understand fully what's happening, but who conveys completely, by implication, the weight and burden of the story" (Chicago Sunday Tribune, July 17, 1960). His was
not the only review which was favorable about Lee's choice of using Scout to define point of view. Many saw this as not only creative, but very effective. According to R.A. Dave "Her art is visual, and with cinemgraphic fluidity and subtlety we see a scen
e melting into another scene without jolts of transition."
What allows Lee to give such a touching and picturesque view of life in America, is the fact that this novel is quite autobiographical in nature. While Lee states on numerous occasions after the books initial success that she is not Scout, there are enou
gh similarities to see how influential her own experiences were in this work. Both Lee and Scout spent their childhood in small, rural Alabama towns during the 1930s. Both are the daughters of successful lawyers. Both love to read as well as play with the
ir older brothers and neighborboy. (In Lee's case this neighbor grew up to be fellow author, Truman Capote, who many critics claim to be very much like Dill.) And, almost too coincidentally, both were six years old during a significant trial.
It is important to note that as of 1998, this is Lee's only published novel. Unlike many of today's bestsellers which could make the New York Times list without anyone caring about their content, "To Kill A Mockingbird" can never be said to have topped th
e charts because of author name recognition.
While critics place much emphasis on the novel's representation of small-town Americana, one can not forget that the novel occurs during the mid 1930s, a period of social and economic depression for the United States. With millions out of work across the
nation, competition was fierce for the few available jobs. This escalated to existing tension between blacks and whites that has remained since the Civil War. The number of African-American lynchings was on the rise.
This plot of "To Kill A Mockingbird" is often compared with the events of the Scottsboro Trials. Also set in the 1930's both concern African-American men who are accused of rape by white women. On March 25, 1931, several vagrants, both white and black we
re riding the rails between Tennessee and Alabama when a fight broke out, resulting in a number of the white men being thrown from the train. All the vagrants were arrested upon their arrival to Alabama. However, two the women who faced charges for other
crimes, such as taking a minor across state lines for immoral purposes, accused the African-American men of rape. The trial that ensued has numerous similarities to that of Tom Robinson including African-Americans being found guilty when there is enormous
support in their favor, threats of lynching, a lone white man acting on behalf of black men despite the disdain of his community, and accusers who are working class women using racial discrimination to help cover their own deeds.
So, while the book is set during a time a racial turbulence, the issue becomes even more significant as Lee writes her novel right during the Civil Rights era. At this time Alabama is receiving probably its most national publicity ever as the media covers
Martin Luther King, the Montgomery bus boycott, and attempts to desegregate public schools. In her position as editor of a college political newspaper and with her knowledge of law after almost completing law school, Lee held in her hands the potential f
or a story that would most certainly strike a chord in the hearts of the American public. Of course people would want to read a touching novel of racial injustice set in the very state that was currently the focal point of America's attention for similar
acts of discrimination. She brought the huge problems of the sixties to hearts of readers by showing how an Alabama family could interact with the Tom Robinson's, Calpurnia's, and the Ewell's of this world. As Edgar H. Schuster states, "The achievement o
f Harper Lee is not that she has written another novel about race prejudice, but rather that she has placed race prejudice in a perspective which allows us to see it as an aspect of a larger thing; as something that arises from phantom contacts, from fea
r and lack of knowledge; and finally as something that disappears with the kind of knowledge or ?education' that one gains through learning what people are really like when you ?finally see them'" (English Journal, October 1963).
The idea of digging to the heart of racial issues through novels in not a new concept. Perhaps one could compare the way Scout's innocence towards race is shaped by the grown up situations she finds herself in with the way Huckleberry Finn gains a new und
erstanding of race as he and Jim make their river journey to freedom in Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn." One could also say that Lee's portrait of the 1930s South is comparable to Twain's picture of Mississippi river culture. Reviewer Keith Waterhouse fin
ds other literary comparisons, "In situation and tone it has something in common with [Carson McCuller's] ?The Member of the Wedding,' though its development and its atmosphere are more commonplace" (Times Literary Supplement, October 28, 1960). Also, Nic
k Aaron Ford comments, ?To Kill a Mockingbird' is the complete antitheses of [Leon Odell Griffiths's] ?Seed in the Wind.'" Instead of stereo-typed Negroes, this novel presents living, convincing characters--neither saints nor devils, neither completely i
gnorant or craven or foolish, not completely wise or wholly courageous. Instead of blatant propaganda from beginning to end , the socially significant overtones do not begin to appear until the story has progressed a third of the way and they creep in un
obtrusively, as natural as breathing" (Phylon: The Atlanta University Review of Race and Culture, June 1961).
The 1963 release of Horton Foote's adaptation of "To Kill A Mockingbird" did not put the novel back on the best seller charts, but it did affect the books popularity in other ways. The movie version is very similar to the novel, in fact it was nominated f
or the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Lee comments at the beginning of the published screenplay, "If the integrity of a film is measured by the degree to which the novelist's intent is preserved, Mr. Foote's screenplay should be studied as a c
lassic." This accuracy of the film makes the novel an excellent teaching tool because it so easy for teachers to use both resources. Having both the film and the novel painting such vivid pictures of so many issues in American history, the novel has found
its way to the educational literary cannon. In addition the film's charm and Academy Award winning acting (led by Gregory Peck in the role of Atticus Finch), viewers of the film in later decades are easily intrigued to read the book behind the script, th
us another reason for its subsequent accolades.
Another factor in the books popularity is the fact that its only substantial criticism is that at points, it contains too much sermonizing and melodrama. Both of these points help sell copies as its publication came at time when readers were expecting a l
ittle sermonizing and melodrama is one thing that many readers of popular fiction look for in a novel.
Furthermore, the most critical and extensive reviews s of the novel have been done by legal rather than literary scholars. For instance University of Notre Dame professor, Thomas Shaffer, uses the novel as a textbook for discussing legal ethics.
So, Harper Lee's first and only novel, "To Kill A Mockingbird" has evolved from a bestseller of the 1960s to an American literary classic. Its popularity can be accredited to Lee's pleasant writing style, her picturesque portrayal of the Southern rural t
own, and the way these two qualities enhance a story of racial injustice. Her timing could not have been more perfect for popular success as she sets her novel in a time of high racial tensions and yet releases these tensions to readers thirty years later
after they have escalated to new heights, making her story not only an enjoyable but a meaningful read. Its continued success and respect marks its significance as a tool to study both of these important time periods in American history.
Supplemental Material
This is the cover of the Warner Books edition published in New York (1982).
This is the first British edition of To Kill a Mockingbird. It was published by William Heinemann Ltd. in London (1960). This edition is held by the Library of Congress.
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