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Reviewed by:
  • The Annotated Wizard of Oz
  • David L. Greene (bio)
The Annotated Wizard of Oz Michael Patrick Hearn . Many photographs and line illustrations; 24 illustrations in three colors, eight illustrations in four colors. 400 pp. (Clarkson N. Potter, $12. 50).

L(yman) Frank Baum (1856-1919) is probably America's most important author of juvenile fantasies, but his work has been generally neglected;1 only recently has his Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) begun to attain scholarly and critical recognition. There has been some significant material published about Baum: Edward Wagenknecht's Utopia Americana (1929), Fred Erisman's "L. Frank Baum and the Progressive Dilemma" (American Quarterly, 20[1968]), Marius Bewley's "Oz Country" (in his recent Masks and Mirrors), Roger Sale's "L. Frank Baum, and Oz" (The Hudson Review, 25 [1972-1973]) come to mind and there are others. Two book-length studies of general interest have appeared: Martin Gardner and Russel B. Nye, The Wizard of Oz and Who He Was (East Lansing, 1957) and Frank Joslyn Baum and Russell P. MacFall, To Please a Child, a Biography of L. Frank Baum . . . (Chicago, 1961). In 1957, The International Wizard of Oz Club was formed and in that year began its journal The Baum Bugle, which has published much material of critical and historical interest.2 But the attitude of many scholars toward Baum remains negative.

By far the most ambitious attempt to present Baum to both the general and the scholarly public is the forthcoming Annotated Wizard of Oz, scheduled for publication in August, 1973. Clarkson Potter's annotated editions are well-known, but this volume is somewhat different from the others in the series. It is probably the most lavishly produced of them all, with the possible exception of the large quarto two-volume Annotated Sherlock Holmes (which, however, has no color illustrations). The illustrative matter in Annotated Wizard is the most striking portion of the volume. All W. W. Denslow's color plates for the book are reproduced in their original colors; all his text illustrations from the first [End Page 231] edition are used, plus many other Denslow Oz illustrations. These other illustrations include those he drew especially for the second edition of 1903, several from his own Oz projects (his 1904 Scarecrow and the Tin-Man pamphlet and newspaper comic page), and a number which were discovered by Mr. Hearn and which seem never to have been printed before. Also included are photographs of Baum, photographs from several of his theatrical and silent movie ventures, and much more. The many drawings and photographs in The Annotated Wizard of Oz make it a treasurehouse for Oz enthusiasts and for anyone interested in popular culture of the 1895-1915 period.

I have seen various drafts of Mr. Hearn's manuscript during its composition, and I am not an unprejudiced reviewer of the work. I believe, however, that a less biased observer would agree that all future scholars will have to consult Annotated Wizard for its vast collection of factual material about Baum. Mr. Hearn has assiduously searched out contemporary sources and added much to our knowledge of Baum's life and the circumstances in which he wrote. In addition to the textual notes (which will be discussed below), Mr. Hearn's own contributions to the volume consist of an introduction, a bibliography, and an appendix on W. W. Denslow.

I do not know how many pages his introduction fills (this review is based on galley proofs), but I believe that it is longer than any other in the Potter series. It tries quite successfully to see the Wizard within Baum's total output. The bibliography is fifteen pages long and consists of a complete listing of all Baum's published works that have been discovered and all his known unpublished writings, a list of published material about Baum and Denslow, and a full summary of foreign editions of the Wizard and of notable English language editions. The Denslow appendix (eight pages) discusses the relationship between Baum and Denslow, the disagreement between the two over which was more responsible for the success of their books, and Denslow's own publications which used characters from the...