Friday, July 10, 2009

In Literature 100 years ago

Lyman Frank Baum was a United States author, poet, playwright, actor and independent filmmaker, best known today as the creator, along with illustrator of the Oz books, first described in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's literature novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow. The road of yellow brick is an element in the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, with additional such roads appearing in The Marvelous Land of Oz and The Patchwork Girl of Oz which starts in Munchkin Land. In the first book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the walls are green, but the city itself is not. However, when they enter, everyone in the Emerald City (the fictional capital of the Land of Oz) is made to wear green-tinted eyeglasses; this is explained as an effort to protect their eyes from the "brightness and glory" of the city, but in effect makes everything appear green. This is yet another "humbug" created by The Wizard, a fictional character in the Land of Oz further popularized by the classic 1939 movie. In this book, the Wizard also describes the city as having been built for him within a few years after he arrived.

The Marvelous Land of Oz, commonly shortened to The Land of Oz, is the second of L. Frank Baum's books set in the Land of Oz, and the sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. However, the characters are required to wear the glasses at first, but half way through the book, no more eyeglasses appear, no more mention is made of the brilliance, but the city is still described as green. This is continued throughout the series. The only allusions to the earlier conception appeared in The Road to Oz.

The Road to Oz is the fifth of L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz books. It was originally published on July 10, 1909 and documents Dorothy Gale's fourth visit to Oz...., where the Little Guardian of the Gates wears green spectacles, the only character to do so. Furthermore, although at one point, the character Tip describes it as being built by the Wizard, at another, the Scarecrow explains that the Wizard had usurped the crown of Pastoria, the former king of the city, and from the Wizard the crown had passed to him; the book, in fact, quickly concerns itself with finding the rightful heir to the crown of the city. Ozma remained the heir to the king, though both she and the original king were transformed to the ruler of all Oz. The story, however, reverted to the Wizard having built the city in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz is the fourth book set in the Land of Oz written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by John R. Neill. It reunites Dorothy with the humbug Wizard from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with the usurpation of the king's power being done by the four witches before his arrival. The Oz books describe the Emerald City as being built of green glass; the buildings were decorated with gold as well.


Baum may have been partly inspired in his creation of the Emerald City by the White City of the World Columbian Exposition, which he visited frequently, having moved to Chicago in anticipation of the event.

W. W. Denslow, the illustrator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was also familiar with the White City, as he had been hired to sketch and document the exposition for the Chicago Herald; Denslow's illustrations of the Emerald City incorporate elements that may have been inspired by the White City.

The quick building of the White City, in less than a year, may have been an element in the quick construction of the Emerald City in the first book.

It is also likely that Baum's favored haunt, the Hotel Del Coronado, a beachfront luxury hotel in the city of Coronado, California, just across the San Diego Bay from San Diego, California influenced its description in later books.


Anonymous said...

Do you remember how I used to hug and kiss the tv when I watched the Wizard of oz? :)

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

I sure do, Nikk! "I wove you Dowoty." Will never forget! :))

i beati said...

fascinating to be sure..sandy

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Will there ever be another kind of children's story or movie, Sandy?
I often wonder!