The BBC resurrects a fascinating - and to me previously unknown - theory that The Wizard Of Oz is an allegory of the stresses and strains of the late nineteenth century depression, deflation and massive debt:

"The Tin Woodman represents the industrial worker, the Scarecrow is the farmer and the Cowardly Lion is William Jennings Bryan." Bryan was a Democratic presidential candidate who supported the silver cause. But he failed to win votes from eastern workers and lost the 1896 election. In the same way, the Lion's claws are nearly blunted by the Woodman's metallic shell. The Wicked Witch of the West is associated with a variety of controversial personalities, chief among them the industrialist Mark Hanna, campaign manager to President William McKinley. In this scenario, the yellow brick road symbolises the gold standard, the Emerald City becomes Washington DC and the Great Wizard characterises the president - and he is exposed as being less than truthful.

Then again, no one actually developed this analysis until 1964.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.