Secret Gardens: A Study of the Golden Age of Children's Literature

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Faber & Faber, Feb 19, 2009 - Children - 264 pages

Covering the period from the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to Winnie-the-Pooh, Humphrey Carpenter examines the lives and writings of Lewis Carroll, Kenneth Grahame, George Macdonald, Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, A.A. Milne and others whose works make up the Golden Age of children's literature.

Both a collective biography and a work of criticism, Secret Gardens forces us to reconsider childhood classics in a new light.

'Secret Gardens permits us to see in a fresh light the interaction between cultural history and literature, and to realize that ... it wasn't mere misfits who withdrew into the writing of children's books, but rather the sort of misfits who reflected the prevailing dissatisfactions of the age.' New York Times Book Review

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User Review  - sonofcarc - LibraryThing

Useful as a collection of biographies of notable childrens' authors of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Eccentric in its assessments of the meaning and value of their works (Carpenter ... Read full review

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User Review  - ifsolitude - LibraryThing

An interesting mix of biographical information and criticism. The author examines several great children's books of the Victorian and Edwardian ages in England, plus Little Women (the only American ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Humphrey Carpenter was born and educated in Oxford, and attended the Dragon School and Keble College. He was a well-known biographer and children's writer, and worked previously as a producer at the BBC. He wrote biographies of J. R. R. Tolkien, W. H. Auden, Benjamin Britten, Ezra Pound, C. S. Lewis and Dennis Potter. Among his many books for children were the best-selling Mr Majeika series. He also wrote several plays for the theatre and radio. A keen musician, he was a member of a 1930s-style jazz band, Vile Bodies, which was resident at the Ritz Hotel in London for a number of years. He died in 2005.

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