Secret Garden

Overview

During the first part of this century, critics compiling lists of the best children's literature tended to ignore Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden (1911). Instead, Burnett was remembered primarily for her earlier, phenomenally popular Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), an Anglo-American Cinderella tale. After Little Lord Fauntleroy, Burnett had gone on to write romances for children and adults that brought her wealth and fame but were received by the critics with increasing disdain. By the 1950s, however, ...
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Overview

During the first part of this century, critics compiling lists of the best children's literature tended to ignore Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden (1911). Instead, Burnett was remembered primarily for her earlier, phenomenally popular Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), an Anglo-American Cinderella tale. After Little Lord Fauntleroy, Burnett had gone on to write romances for children and adults that brought her wealth and fame but were received by the critics with increasing disdain. By the 1950s, however, it was The Secret Garden that readers had obviously come to consider a "classic": it has continued to top polls of child readers, has continued to appeal to many adults as well as children, and has never gone out of print. During the last two decades, The Secret Garden has received much attention from literary critics and has been honored with three film adaptations (1975, 1987, and 1993), an opera and a children's opera (both in 1991), and two adaptations for the musical stage (1983 and 1991). Its rich characterization and mythic imagery and themes have allowed it to transcend its own era; it has been described as ahead of its time for the accuracy with which it reflects our contemporary understanding of child psychology. In this comprehensive study of Burnett's masterwork, its literary milieu, and its enthusiastic, if belated, critical treatment, Phyllis Bixler argues that Burnett adapted themes and forms from fairy tales and moral tales about exemplary children to create a compelling story. Bixler discusses Burnett's debt to the romantic movement and the long western tradition of literary pastoral, showing how its association of childhood and garden makes Burnett's children's classic a bridge between the romantic and such hallmarks of the moderns T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets and D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover. Bixler addresses the mythic appeal of The Secret Garden, its description and encouragement of children's self-reliance, its treatment
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805788143
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Series: Twayne's Masterwork Studies Series
  • Pages: 108
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.67 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

Note on the References and Acknowledgments
Chronology: Frances Hodgson Burnett's Life and Works
1 The Secret Garden and the Golden Age of Children's Literature 3
2 The Secret Garden as a Classic 9
3 Critical Reception 13
4 "Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary" (Chapters 1-8) 25
5 "Might I Have a Bit of Earth?" (Chapters 9-12) 37
6 "I Am Colin" (Chapters 13-20) 43
7 Nest Building (Chapters 13-20) 52
8 Parental Reunions (Chapters 21-27) 62
9 Class and Gender 75
Approaches to Teaching 87
Notes and References 94
Selected Bibliography 99
Index 105
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