|12-14-2012, 03:32 PM||#1|
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van Dyne, Edith: The Mary Louise Books. V1. 14-Dec-2012
Lyman Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919) was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He wrote the Mary Louise books under his Edith Van Dyne pseudonym.
The title character is Mary Louise Burrows. In the first books of the series, she is a fifteen-year-old girl with unusual maturity (though the other girls in her boarding school find her somewhat priggish). She is suddenly confronted with the fact that her beloved grandfather is suspected of no less a crime than treason against the United States. With the help of old and new friends of Mary Louise, her grandfather's innocence is revealed and the truth is uncovered. The novel features a federal agent named John O'Gorman; he is assisted by his daughter Josie, a young woman he has himself trained to function as an investigator. (The Josie O'Gorman character, despite preceding Nancy Drew by more than a decade, is much less traditionally feminine.)
Subsequent novels in the series ring changes on this basic formula. The second book, Mary Louise in the Country, involves the struggle for Irish independence from Britain. Josie O'Gorman, tougher and less ladylike than Mary Louise, has a more prominent role, and eventually she takes over the series. Sampson eventually relented and named the last few books after this character.
Marie Louise in the Country contains a passage that bears upon the question of racism in Baum's works. Baum draws a contrast between the crude racist attitude of a local shopkeeper with the more egalitarian attitudes of Marie Louise and her grandfather. Mary Louise and the Liberty Girls is concerned with the strong anti-German sentiments in the United States during World War I.
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