By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Harper Lee’s true legacy

In my latest for the Guardian, I argue that though “To Kill a Mockingbird” may not be a great novel, it may well be something more important than that: a book that changed us all for the better.

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  1. Art Kane

    Orwell said that literature is judged great by its ability to survive in the competition of the literary marketplace. “Mockingbird” has survived for half a century; pose the question again in 100 years and you’ll have a definitive answer.

  2. M.J.Stevenson

    I watched the film “Capote” to see the interplay between Truman and his close friend Nelle. Suffice it to say Harper Lee put up with a lot. Capote –as portrayed– was not particularly impressed with To Kill a Mockingbird.

  3. Neil Sagan

    Did Harper Lee Whitewash The Jewish Past?
    To kill a Mockingbird

    As ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ turns 50, caught up in the backlash against Atticus Finch is the novel’s Jewish question.
    Tuesday, July 13, 2010
    Eric Herschthal

  4. Neil Sagan

    Mockingbird is an easy read. It envelopes you slowly, like a summer nightfall; it doesn’t jolt you with techno-whiz or pace or testosterone like a modern airport best seller. Set in the Depression era American South, the atmosphere is placeless and timeless; it could be many places and times, but it’s just distant enough not to be ours. The story unfolds through the freshly opening eyes of a child, but its luster and depth come by way of a mature woman’s remembrance of that childhood.

    Injustice – to Tom Robinson, to “Boo” Radley, to the white farmer unable to release his entailed farm, to the whole town owing to the Depression – permeates the story. What dominates it, though, is a sense of warmth and wonder, frankness and quiet courage, self-sacrifice, a dignity so rare it makes us stand in mute thanks, and a child’s love for an impossibly wonderful father. We want to live in the world Harper Lee remembers and invents, or make ours a little more like it than it was when we came here. source

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