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Harper Lee (Nelle Harper Lee) Biography

(1926– ), (Nelle Harper Lee), To Kill a Mockingbird

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Mary Lavin Biography to Light Shining in Buckinghamshire

American author, born in Monroeville, Alabama, educated at the University of Alabama. She worked for the reservations department of an international airline before she began writing, but has since become somewhat reclusive. Her reputation rests upon the unanimous acclaim accorded to her novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960; Pulitzer Prize), which presents the sensational trial of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman, through the eyes of the daughter of the white defence lawyer, Atticus Finch. We are presented with a series of the experiences and obsessions of his son and daughter, Scout and Jem Finch, through which they lose their innocence, as the novel traces the reactions of the inhabitants of Maycomb, a small Southern town, who become engrossed and scandalized by the entire case. A screenplay by Horton Foote was filmed in 1962.

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