In the Garden: Essays in Honor of Frances Hodgson Burnett
An anthology for adults, edited by Angelica Shirley Carpenter
Scarecrow Press, 2006
In 2003 at California State University, Fresno, I organized the first-ever conference about one of my favorite authors, Frances Hodgson Burnett. Scholars, fans, and collectors came from England, Japan, New Zealand, and all over the United States to celebrate her work. The talks from that conference, with others added, grew into this book.
My essay, “Lady of the Manor,” stems from several visits I made to Maytham Hall (where I took the photo featured on the cover). When Frances leased this estate in Kent in 1898, she found a neglected, walled garden, which she restored. Maytham became her favorite place. Even after she moved back to America, she recreated it in books.
Frances believed in women’s rights; she campaigned for a woman’s right to vote. Her flamboyant personality and unconventional lifestyle made her a controversial figure in Victorian society. For decades after her death, her own granddaughters refused to acknowledge her. Though best known now for her children’s books, she began her career as a popular novelist, writing with feminist themes—working women, abusive marriages, and single motherhood. Recently scholars have rediscovered her adult novels and, as they have been reissued, readers have begun to enjoy them, too.
For additional information, visit the The Literary Ladies Guide.
Frances Hodgson Burnett’s great-great-granddaughter, Keri Wilt, maintains a blog called “FHB and Me.”
Reviews of In the Garden: Essays in Honor of Frances Hodgson Burnett
Children’s Literature Association Quarterly: “[Carpenter] allows the reader to accompany on her own pilgrimage to Maytham Hall and to stand with her in the walled garden, vicariously seeing and smelling Burnett’s irises, bluebells, and Laurette Messimy roses. . . . Time spent in the literary garden that Carpenter offers in this collection is time well spent indeed.”
The Lion and the Unicorn: “Readers are sure to take away a new appreciation for Burnett’s contributions not only to children’s and adolescent literature but also to the literary world as a whole. . . . Like an old-fashioned country garden with an eclectic mixture of flowers, In the Garden invites wandering through new terrain.”
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