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In, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee refers to Oliver Optic, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Victor Appleton as three authors whose works were enjoyed by Scout, Jem and Dill. These 19 th and 20 th century authors had similar writing styles and plot formulations. Adventure stories, which were the genre of the tales written by these particular authors, were extremely appealing to the young children in Harper Lees novel. Scout and her friends wove detailed imaginary dramas portraying characters discovered in these works. The most popular works, which were also mentioned in the book, were Tarzan, The Rover Boys, Tom Swift, and The Gray Ghost.
Not only were they popular with fictional Jem, Dill, and Scout, but they swept the country and were popular with all children during that time period. Victor Appleton was the pen name of Edward Stratemeyer. He wrote numerous fictional series for young children, although rarely using his real name. The Rover Boys (1899 - 1916) was his best selling series although it was followed up with many more which were equally liked. The Rover Boys was based on tales of preparatory school and college life. These works were so popular that Stratemeyer continued the series with a follow up one, on the lives of the original characters children.
Other series included Tom Swift (1910), The Peripatetic Motor Boys (1906), The Bobsey Twin series, although written under the pseudonym Laura E. Hope. After creating at least 150 full-length, hardbound novels, he opened the Stratemeyer Syndicate, established in 1914, which completed works that Stratemeyer outlined and edited. Oliver Optic was the pseudonym of W. T Adams, a Boston author and schoolteacher. In 1965, he left his teaching job and began writing novels full time and editing a magazine called Oliver Optics magazine for Boys and Girls (1867 - 1875).
His Juvenile books and magazines were said to compare the works of another famous author at that time, Horatio Alger. Both of their Characters were ambitious young boys who struggled to become heroes facing the obstacle of poverty. They differed in that Algers characters were interested in rising in the business world, and Adams were concerned with patriotism and adventure. Throughout his lifetime, he wrote many series. Some being: The Boat Club Series (1854), Woodville series (1861 - 67), Army and Navy Series (1865 - 94), Stormy Flag Series (1867 - 69), Onward and Upward Series (1870), Yacht Club Series (1872 - 1900), and Great Western Series (1875 - 82). In the end, he had at least 1, 000 short stories and about 115 novels to his name.
Probably better known as the author of the best selling series, Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs was another early 20 th century author whose works were popular amongst the children in his time. His second published story, Tarzan of the Apes, was released in All-Story magazine in 1912. It was so popular, it was published in hard cover in 1914, and sold millions of copies worldwide. The stories of Tarzan were adventurous and exciting, if not scientifically accurate. The story of a nobles son abandoned and raised by apes in the jungle, who later falls in love with a scientists daughter was eaten up by the public. They couldnt get enough.
So, even though the main plot was formulated in the first two books of the series, 20 more stories were added to meet the requests of the readers. The character of Tarzan has been the subject of comic strips, portrayed on radio stations and televisions in numerous languages, and made into about 40 movies. After Tarzan, Burroughs followed up with a sci-fi series about the planet Venus. Pirates of Venus (1934, Lost in Venus (1935), Carson of Venus (1939), and Escape from Venus (1946), made up the not as successful series.
During this time, Burroughs divorced his first wife and remarried in 1935. Not only did he write adventure and science fiction, but he also released carefully researched western adventure stories. These were based on his own adventures on his brothers ranch in Idaho. When he was younger he served as a cavalry soldier here. Some of these works were considered by critics to be his best writings. The young characters in To Kill a Mocking Bird were interested, as were the many realistic kids of their generation in America, in adventure stories.
These three authors, Edgar Rice Burroughs, W. T Adams, and Edward Stratemeyer had a writers ability to quench the young peoples thirst for these novels. Harper Lee makes references to these three authors in her book because they were the most popular of their time. All achieved great accomplishments and fame in the world of literature through out their life times. Bibliography: NOPE
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Research essay sample on 20 Th Century Harper Lee