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In honour of the 100th anniversary of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, Jackie C. Horne and Joe Sutliff Sanders are soliciting essays for a proposed volume in the Children’s Literature Association’s Centennial Studies Series. The series seeks to re-examine children’s classics from a contemporary perspective. All critical and theoretical approaches are welcome. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The novel in the context of Burnett’s writing for adults
  • The novel in the context of Burnett’s other children’s novels
  • The novel in the context of other children’s literature of the period
  • “Sentimental” and “realistic” constructions of childhood in Burnett’s children’s texts
  • Animal studies and the (tenuous) line between human and animal in the novel
  • “Queerness” and other sexualities
  • Construction of the narrator/narratee
  • Approaching the novel from the perspective of disability theory and the history of disability in Western culture
  • Construction(s) of masculinity
  • Gardening in the period and/or Burnett’s personal history with real-world gardens
  • Re-envisioning the garden metaphor in later children’s texts
  • Precursor texts: return from India narratives (Ewing’s Six to Sixteen, etc.)
  • Constructions of nationality: British, Indian, American
  • Construction of motherhood/mothers and their replacements
  • Mourning customs of the period reflected in/resisted by the novel
  • Burnett and mysticism/religion
  • Ideologies of class in the novel
  • Secrets in the novel – those revealed and those kept
  • The novel’s ending(s)
  • Illustrations/covers for the novel
  • Film adaptations
  • Theatrical productions; Burnett and theatrical copyright law

Deadline for abstracts: January 10, 2010. Completed articles will be due by June 1, 2010. Please send abstracts of 250-500 words by email, with “SECRET GARDEN” in the submission line, to the following editor:

Joe Sutliff Sanders
California State University – San Bernadino

CFP – Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden at 100