When Dorothy became history: L. Frank Baum's enduring fantasy of cosmopolitan nostalgia

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In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), L. Frank Baum imagines Dorothy's nostalgia for Kansas as a desire that compels her to develop a cosmopolitan ethics only as a means of returning home. But this psychic fantasy of cosmopolitan nostalgia inevitably compromises her engagement with strangers, transforming her ethics into an illiberal form of internationalist expansionism. By entwining these incompatible phenomena, Baum creates a lasting metaphor for U.S. foreign policy: Dorothy as the reluctant traveler who selflessly intervenes in the affairs of strangers with the intention of returning home instead of remaining abroad.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-451
Number of pages23
JournalModern Language Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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