Forget the Devil and keep your Pink Lamps Lighted: The Metaphysics of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden

Michael Francis McCarthy


Few children’s novels have been analyzed as much as The Secret Garden. Critical readings of the novel have filtered Frances Hodgson Burnett’s story through the lens of sexual awakening, class conflict, feminist and post-colonial theory, primitivism, and paganism. This novel is more than a children’s book — part of The Secret Garden’s longevity and “classic” status is that it appeals to adults. Indeed, it is a summation of an author’s belief system deliberately aimed at readers of all ages.

This study explores the author’s life through her belief system(s) and how she incorporated her ideas about life and death in her masterpiece, a “Beautiful Thought” fable that has endured because of its essential truthfulness in characterization and message.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680