Penguin Books

  • Biographical noteBurnett, Frances Hodgson, 1849-1924 . Main descriptionA richly imaginative tale that cleverly inverts many of the popular clichés of children's books, Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden is edited with an introduction by Alison Lurie in Penguin Classics.After the death of her parents in India, sullen and self-absorbed Mary Lennox is sent to live on her uncle's estate, Misselthwaite Manor, an enormous, drafty mansion looming on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. Exploring the grounds, Mary discovers a walled garden, neglected and in ruins; and in a distant room in the house she finds a cousin she never knew existed - Colin, an invalid, ignored by his father and expecting to die. Mary and Dickon, the housemaid's spirited brother, befriend Colin, and set about restoring the garden, which opens up a world of magic, reconciling the children to the world of life. Originally published in 1911, Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden is an extraordinary novel that has influenced writers such as T.S. Eliot and D.H. Lawrence, bringing to life the transformative powers of love, joy and nature, and of mystical faith and positive thinking. Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) was born in Manchester, England. After her father's death in 1865, her mother moved the family to rural Tennessee, where they struggled to earn a living. At seventeen, Burnett sold her first story to a magazine, and by the time she was twenty-two she had earned enough to return to England. Burnett wrote a number of popular novels for adults, but is mainly remembered for her children's novels: Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911). If you enjoyed The Secret Garden, you might like Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, also available in Penguin Classics. 'One of the most original and brilliant children's books of the twentieth century'— Alison Lurie