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The Secret of the Hardy Boys: Leslie McFarlane and the Stratemeyer Syndicate
     

The Secret of the Hardy Boys: Leslie McFarlane and the Stratemeyer Syndicate

by Marilyn S. Greenwald
 

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Known as Franklin W. Dixon to fans of his novels, newspaper reporter Leslie McFarlane wrote the first 24 Hardy Boys mysteries. The series and the Dixon persona were both the creation of Edward Stratemeyer, who, through his Stratemeyer Syndicate, also published the Tom Swift, Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew series. Giving credit to McFarlane for transforming

Overview

Known as Franklin W. Dixon to fans of his novels, newspaper reporter Leslie McFarlane wrote the first 24 Hardy Boys mysteries. The series and the Dixon persona were both the creation of Edward Stratemeyer, who, through his Stratemeyer Syndicate, also published the Tom Swift, Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew series. Giving credit to McFarlane for transforming Stratemeyer's plot-driven creations into wildly popular works of children's literature through his skill with the characters and refusal to talk down to his audience, Greenwald (journalism, Ohio U.) presents a biography that combines discussion of his professional and personal lives, paying special attention to his literary work, which went far beyond the Hardy Boys into broadcast writing and writing for other works for both adults and young adults. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A fascinating slice of publishing history and a lease on life for Franklin W. Dixon fans.”
Booklist

“Making use of extensive archival research, Greenwald illuminates the working relationship between ghostwriter Leslie McFarlane and syndicate chief Edward Stratemeyer in fascinating ways—showing how an arrangement that aimed at nothing more than quick pulp profits produced one of the most enduring and influential formulas in the history of children’s publishing”
— Tim Morris, author of You’re Only Young Twice: Children’s Literature and Film

“The Hardy Boys turn 75 next year, still living at home and enrolled in Bayport High. They are still well-scrubbed Boy Scout types from the 1920s, with personalities that barely extend beyond the color of their hair. And their books still sell more than a million copies a year.”
New York Times

Publishers Weekly
This thorough if lackluster biography charts the career of Leslie McFarlane, who penned the first 16 books of the famous Hardy Boys series under the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon. In 1926, the enterprising New Jersey book packager Edward Stratemeyer created the series: formulaic fiction strategically marketed to newly leisured adolescent boys. McFarlane, a young journalist in northern Ontario, regarded his ghostwriting as hackwork. He neither sought nor received credit or financial gain proportionate to the series' popularity. A proud Canadian, McFarlane harbored unrealized ambitions to write a Canadian epic novel and found gratification only in publishing his stories in literary magazines. Striving to support a growing family, McFarlane eventually found success in Canadian broadcast writing and directing. A professor of journalism at Ohio University and biographer of Charlotte Curtis (A Woman of the Times), Greenwald writes straightforwardly about the ethnically stereotypical, sex-free world of the Hardy Boys. Although she records debates over the literary value of popular children's fiction, Greenwald concentrates on the business details of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, on McFarlane's professional and family life, and on the lasting influence of his smalltown Canadian childhood. While her study reflects meticulous factual research and will inevitably appeal to Hardy Boys fans, others may be frustrated by the lack here of a thesis about the books' cultural legacy. 33 illus. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780821415474
Publisher:
Ohio University Press
Publication date:
07/28/2004
Edition description:
1
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
15 Years

Meet the Author

Marilyn S. Greenwald is a professor of journalism at Ohio University. She was formerly a reporter and editor at several daily papers in Ohio. She and her husband live in Columbus, Ohio.

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