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Encyclopedia > The Sea Fairies
The Sea Fairies
Author L. Frank Baum
Illustrator John R. Neill
Cover Artist John R. Neill
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Children's novel
Publisher Reilly & Britton
Released 1911
Media Type Print (Hardcover)
Preceded by N/A
Followed by Sky Island

The Sea Fairies is a children's fantasy novel written by L. Frank Baum, illustrated by John R. Neill, and published in 1911 by the Reilly & Britton Company, the publisher of Baum's series of Oz books. Baum dedicated the book to the otherwise-unknown "Judith of Randolph, Massachusetts" — most likely one of the child readers who corresponded with the author. Lyman Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919) was an American author, and the creator with illustrator W. W. Denslow of one of the most popular books ever written in American childrens literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. ... John Rea Neill (November 12, 1877 - September 13, 1943) was a childrens book illustrator primarily known for illustrating more than forty stories set in the Land of Oz, including L. Frank Baums, Ruth Plumly Thompsons, and three of his own. ... John Rea Neill (November 12, 1877 - September 13, 1943) was a childrens book illustrator primarily known for illustrating more than forty stories set in the Land of Oz, including L. Frank Baums, Ruth Plumly Thompsons, and three of his own. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... The Reilly and Britton Company, or Reilly & Britton (after 1919, Reilly & Lee) was an American publishing company of the early and middle 20th century, famous as the publisher of the works of L. Frank Baum. ... See also: 1910 in literature, other events of 1911, 1912 in literature, list of years in literature. ... A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) book is bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth or heavy paper) and a stitched spine. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... Fantasy is a genre of art that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. ... Lyman Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919) was an American author, and the creator with illustrator W. W. Denslow of one of the most popular books ever written in American childrens literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. ... John Rea Neill (November 12, 1877 - September 13, 1943) was a childrens book illustrator primarily known for illustrating more than forty stories set in the Land of Oz, including L. Frank Baums, Ruth Plumly Thompsons, and three of his own. ... See also: 1910 in literature, other events of 1911, 1912 in literature, list of years in literature. ... The Reilly and Britton Company, or Reilly & Britton (after 1919, Reilly & Lee) was an American publishing company of the early and middle 20th century, famous as the publisher of the works of L. Frank Baum. ... The Oz books form a book series that begins with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and that relates the history of the Land of Oz. ...


Baum's novel has no relation to the 1830 poem of the same name by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. In 1905, however, a musical setting of the poem for female chorus and orchestra, composed by Amy Beach, was in performance; the title may have stuck in the back of Baum's mind. Alfred, Lord Tennyson Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom after William Wordsworth and is one of the most popular English poets Much of his verse was based on classical or mythological themes, although In Memoriam was written to... Amy Marcy Beach (September 5, 1867 – December 27, 1944), was an American pianist and composer of classical music. ...

Contents

Plot

Mayre Griffiths, nicknamed Trot, or sometimes Tiny Trot, is a little girl who lives on the coast of southern California. Her father is the captain of a sailing schooner, and her constant companion is Cap'n Bill, a retired sailor with a wooden leg. (Cap'n Bill had been Trot's father's skipper, and Charlie Griffiths had been his mate, before the accident that took the older man's leg.) Trot and Cap'n Bill spend many of their days roaming the beaches near home, or rowing and sailing along the coast. One day, Trot wishes that she could see a mermaid; her wish is overheard, and granted the next day. The mermaids explain to Trot, and the distressed Cap'n Bill, that they are benevolent fairies; when they offer Trot a chance to pay a visit to their land in mermaid form, Trot is enthusiastic, and Bill is too loyal to let her go off without him. A Mermaid by John William Waterhouse. ...


So begins their sojourn among the sea fairies. They see amazing sights in the land of Queen Aquarine and King Anko (including an octopus who is mortified to learn that he's the symbol of the Standard Oil Company). They also encounter a villain called Zog the Magician, a monstrous hybrid of man, animal, and fish. Zog and his sea devils capture them and hold them prisoner. The two protagonists discover that many sailors thought to have been drowned have actually been transformed into zombie-like gilled slaves by Zog. Trot and Cap'n Bill survive Zog's challenges, and the villain is eventually defeated by the forces of good. Trot and Cap'n Bill are returned to human form, safe and dry after their undersea adventure. Families 11 in two suborders, see text. ... Standard Oil was an oil refining organization founded by John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) and partners beginning in 1863. ...

As many readers and critics have observed, Baum's Oz in particular and his fantasy novels in general are dominated by puissant and virtuous female figures; the archetype of the father-figure plays little role in Baum's fantasy world. The Sea Fairies is a lonely exception to this overall trend: "The sea serpent King Anko...is the closest approximation to a powerful, benevolent father figure in Baum's fantasies."[1]


Reception

Baum had decided to end the Oz series with The Emerald City of Oz in 1910, after six installments over the first decade of the twentieth century. The Sea Fairies was intended to be the first in a new series of fantasy novels, which Baum and Reilly & Britton continued the next year with Sky Island. Unfortunately for author and publisher, the two volumes of the new projected series did not meet with the same success as the Oz books previously had. The first edition of The Sea Fairies sold 12,400 copies in its initial year on the market, where The Emerald City of Oz had sold 20,000. Even when Baum's oeuvre experienced a major resurgence in interest and sales in 1918, The Sea Fairies sold only 611 copies that year while the Oz books and even Baum's non-Oz works were selling thousands of copies.[2] The Emerald City of Oz is the sixth of L. Frank Baums fourteen Land of Oz books. ... See also: 1909 in literature, other events of 1910, 1911 in literature, list of years in literature. ...


Once Baum returned to writing Oz books with The Patchwork Girl of Oz in 1913, the Trot series was retired — but the main characters lived on. Trot and Cap'n Bill are the main protagonists in The Scarecrow of Oz (1915) — the plot of which was reworked from the projected third book in their aborted series — and they play a significant role in The Magic of Oz (1918). Trot appears in The Lost Princess of Oz (1917) as well. The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum, is a childrens novel, the seventh set in the Land of Oz. ... The Scarecrow of Oz is the ninth book set in the Land of Oz written by L. Frank Baum. ... The Magic of Oz is the thirteenth and final Land of Oz book written entirely by L. Frank Baum. ... The Lost Princess of Oz is the eleventh book set in Oz written by L. Frank Baum. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Rogers, p. 289.
  2. ^ Katharine Rogers, L. Frank Baum, p. 230.

References

  • Rogers, Katharine M. L. Frank Baum: Creator of Oz. New York, St. Martin's Press, 2002.

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