Atticus Finch: the Biography

Atticus Finch: the Biography

Harper Lee, Her Father, and the Making of An American Icon

Book - 2018
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"Who was the real Atticus Finch? The publication of Go Set a Watchman in 2015 forever changed how we think about Atticus Finch. Once seen as a paragon of decency, he was reduced to a small-town racist. How are we to understand this transformation? In Atticus Finch, historian Joseph Crespino draws on exclusive sources to reveal how Harper Lee's father provided the central inspiration for each of her books. A lawyer and newspaperman, A.C. Lee was a principled opponent of mob rule, yet he was also a racial paternalist. Harper Lee created the Atticus of Watchman out of the ambivalence she felt toward white southerners like him. But when a militant segregationist movement arose that mocked his values, she revised the character in To Kill a Mockingbird to defend her father and to remind the South of its best traditions. A story of family and literature amid the upheavals of the twentieth century, Atticus Finch is essential to understanding Harper Lee, her novels, and her times"-- Provided by publisher.
"One of the most famous characters in all of American culture, Atticus Finch has long been regarded as a touchstone of decency and goodness. But that changed with the 2015 publication of Lee's long-hidden manuscript Go Set a Watchman, in which Atticus is portrayed not as the heroic defender of a wrongly accused black man but as a small-town southern racist. Many have tried to piece together the "real" Atticus, and to determine how and why Harper Lee would have created two such seemingly different versions of the same character. The best way to understand Atticus, as the award-winning historian Joseph Crespino explains, is to examine the life of the flesh-and-blood man who inspired him: Harper Lee's father, Amasa Coleman (A.C.) Lee. In Atticus Finch, Crespino has unearthed a variety of new sources that show how Harper Lee's views were formed in tension with her father's, and how she used his example, even while smoothing over its rough edges, to create an enduring icon. From 1929 to 1947 A.C. Lee was the part-owner and sole editor of the lone newspaper in Monroeville, Alabama. On display in Lee's editorials were all the attributes commonly associated with Atticus: integrity, idealism, and a vigorous opposition to political demagoguery, whether that meant mob rule in Alabama or fascism in Hitler's Germany. Yet Lee was also a white southerner of his time and place, and his growing opposition to the New Deal and the emerging civil rights movement informed the character his daughter conceived in Watchman"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781541644946
1541644948
Branch Call Number: B LEE
Characteristics: xx, 248 pages : illustrations ; 25cm

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