Books, Articles, and Items of Academic Interest
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L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in May 1900 in an edition of 10,000 copies. These sold out by October, and the book was on its way to phenomenal success. More than one million copies sold by 1938, the year before the MGM musical staring Judy Garland. It had, however, already made it to the screen in a 1925 silent movie with Dorothy Dwan as Dorothy. And as early as 1902, it had been staged as a musical.
By 1956, Baum’s original book had three million copies in print. Baum (1856-1919) didn’t live to see his American fairy tale achieve these heights, but he did capitalize on its popularity by publishing twelve sequel Oz novels, a comic strip, and a book of short stories. He also left two more complete Oz novels to be published posthumously. And he inspired imitators—perhaps appropriators is the better word—the most notable of whom is Gregory McGuire, the author of Wicked (1995) and another trail of sequels, Son of a Witch (2005), A Lion Among Men, Out of Oz...