Mockingbird Grows Up
Re-Reading Harper Lee since Watchman
Although Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird has attracted a great deal of scholarly and popular attention due to its engaging narrative and broad appeal to a sense of justice, little has been done to examine the modern classic through the lens of Lee’s controversial “lost” novel Go Set a Watchman, published unexpectedly a year before the author’s death. In Mockingbird Grows Up: Re-Reading Harper Lee since Watchman, Cheli Reutter and Jonathan S. Cullick assemble a team of scholars to take on the task of interpreting, contextualizing, and deconstructing To Kill a Mockingbird in the wake of Go Set a Watchman. The essays contained in this groundbreaking volume cover a range of literary topics, such as race, sexuality, language, and reading contexts. Critically, the volume revisits the question of African American characterization in Lee’s work and reexamines the development of Atticus Finch, a character long believed to be an exemplar of justice and virtue in Lee’s fiction. And perhaps most imperative, the editors take on questions regarding the publication of Go Set a Watchman, and Holly Blackford contributes an essay that places Go Set a Watchman within the pantheon of American literature.
Literary scholars, educators, and those interested in southern literature will appreciate the new light this publication sheds on a classic American novel. Mockingbird Grows Up offers a deeper understanding of a canonical American work and prepares a new generation to engage with Harper Lee’s appealing prose, complex characters, and influential metaphors.
CHELI REUTTER is an associate professor of English at the University of Cincinnati and an affiliate faculty member of the university’s Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her journal articles have appeared in Paper’s on Language and Literature, CEA Critic, Journal of the Society for Multi-Ethnic Literature, and others. She is co-editor of Crisscrossing Borders in Literature of the American West.
JONATHAN S. CULLICK is professor of English at Northern Kentucky University. He is the author of Making History: Biographical Narratives of Robert Penn Warren and Robert Penn Warren’s All The King’s Men: A Reader’s Companion.