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The Annotated Secret Garden (The Annotated Books) Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 17, 2007


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 17, 2007
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Series: The Annotated Books
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Annotated edition (October 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393060292
  • ASIN: B002KE4884
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.2 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,584,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Gerzina's expert commentary is not only a fascinating Introduction...but it will also delight the book's many ardent admirers. [S]plendid. -- Michael Patrick Hearn, editor of The Annotated Wizard of Oz

About the Author

Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) was an Anglo-American playwright and author. She is best known for her children's stories, in particular The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, and Little Lord Fauntleroy.

Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina is a professor of English at Dartmouth College. She is the author of Frances Hodgson Burnett, Black London, Carrington, Looking for Bijah and Lucy, and editor of The Annotated Secret Garden. She lives near Hanover, New Hampshire.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 9 customer reviews
The book is a joyous discovery and blossoming of Burnett's adored classic.
Kealani
The annotations provided by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, a distinguished historian and biographer, enhance our understanding of the book without detracting from it.
Peter E. Hanff
Wonderful insight from the biography to the footnotes - nice choices for illustrations as well.
D

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The name Frances Hodgson Burnett now conjures images of fusty Victorian morality stories. The Annotated Secret Garden analyzes her most well known work and reveals Burnett to have been a far more complicated writer who, while she did intend to impart a moral message, followed a theology more heterodox and diffuse than her reputation suggests.

Mary Lennox is a neglected child who is sent back to England after a cholera epidemic in India kills her parents. She is given a home at Misselthwaite Manor by her uncle, who is a self-absorbed hypochondriac. Her only friends are a servant girl and a small bird, who helps her find a secret garden in the grounds of the manor. Eventually, Mary becomes healthier, both physically and mentally, and through her efforts to revive the secret garden she finds renewal not just for herself but for her cousin Colin and her uncle as well. Burnett's theological beliefs, a mixture of Christianity, and "New Thought" or what we now call Positive Thinking, are well developed and used to good effect throughout the story.

The real pleasure of annotated volumes like this are the many notes which explain and expand on what has become confusing or obscure over time. This volume is also a pleasure because of the many fine illustrations, both in color and black and white, drawn from the many different editions. The Annotated Secret Garden will appeal to children being introduced to it for the first time and to adults who, while familar with the story, may not be so aware of the background and beliefs of its author.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Peter E. Hanff on November 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Secret Garden has become the best known novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, who in earlier years was better known for her adult fiction, and Little Lord Fauntleroy and A Little Princess. Although The Secret Garden has been translated to motion pictures several times, none of the films has captured the quality and atmosphere of the book. Burnett's novel conveys the grim reality of a major cholera outbreak in India that leaves an English child as a sole survivor of a family that had been posted to the tropical subcontinent. The child, badly neglected by her own parents, and phenomenally spoiled and self-centered, is suddenly sent to live at the edges of the moors of Yorkshire at a manor house owned by her misanthropic, eccentric uncle. There the character of the grounds,the moors, and the local people begin to work their magic on the child, and she in turn slowly rescues her apparently invalid cousin, who has grown up as overly indulged and self-centered as she had been.

Although the author was British born, she arrived in the United States in 1865 where as a teenager, she began to help support her family through her stories in American and later English magazines. By the beginning of the twentieth century she was one of the most highly paid writers in the English-speaking world.

Burnett's writing remains compelling, as does her story. The annotations provided by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, a distinguished historian and biographer, enhance our understanding of the book without detracting from it. She shares her specialist's knowledge of the Victorian era and British empire culture and politics to provide insights into the society and circumstances that help make The Secret Garden such a moving story.

Peter E. Hanff
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This beloved children's classic is a welcome addition to Norton's Annotated Series, the tale accompanied by comments about the text, emphasizing the historical details of Mary Lennox's magical journey. The imagery is powerful- spoiled little girl, ill cousin, a lonely childhood and a garden in England that yields life-changing secrets. If one is already familiar with the story, the annotations enhance the text; personally, I have always found annotations distracting, but these are enjoyable for me because I am already familiar with the novel and curious about the information included in the commentary. In this context, I find the remarks interesting, if not vital.

The illustrations throughout are wonderful- black and white, full color, pen and ink- reminiscent of an era when Colonialism is a natural extension of England's empire, children cared for by ayah's and nurses, until, of course, the tragedy that sends little Mary to the lonely English moors and her secret garden. To a child, such pictures are the stuff of imagination, a magical country where anything is possible, even deliverance from the cruel vagaries of fate.

Gerzina's preface highlights Burnett's personal experiences, interests and prolific writing life, this novel much applauded when it first appeared in 1911, falling into obscurity until the illustrated edition once more captures the public's attention. Of eclectic religious tastes, Burnett's spiritual inclinations are formed by her experiences, a classic Victorian thrust into reality by circumstances and a growing emphasis on scientific investigation, deeply frightened by any specter of unhappiness and extremely sensitive to the suffering of others. How much of the author's spiritual inclinations affect her writing is left to the reader to determine.
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