Frances Hodgson Burnett

Frances Hodgson Burnett

Frances Hodgson Burnett (November 24, 1849 – October 29, 1924) was born in Cheetham, England. At the age of sixteen, she started publishing stories in magazines to help support her family after the death of her father. She emigrated to the U.S. with her mother and siblings.

Though she did well with her stories and novels, she wasn’t widely recognized until she published her first children’s novel, Little Lord Fauntleroy in 1886. Sara Crewe: or, What Happened at Miss Minchins was serialized in 1887 and published as a novella in 1888. This novella was the predecessor of what developed into A Little Princess. 

Burnett’s unstable marriages, spendthrift ways, and above all, the death of one of her sons contributed to her turbulent life. The more success she experienced, the more depressed and sick she became. The overwhelming stress and criticism from the media about her personal life possibly added to her poor health.

Writing in her garden helped her with her illnesses and contributed to one of her most popular works, The Secret Garden. It’s hard to say which is the more beloved of her works, the latter or A Little Princess. Burnett also helped write the theatrical versions of her books during her lifetime. Her children’s books are timeless, as are their many adaptations. Frances Hodgson Burnett died in Nassau County, Long Island, NY, in 1924 at the age of seventy-four.

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Major Works

Biographies about Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Film adaptations of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s works


Frances Hodgson Burnett Quotes

Frances Hodgson Burnett“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can’t be done, then they see it can be done – then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.” (The Secret Garden, 1909)

“Everything’s a story – You are a story -I am a story.” (A Little Princess, 1905)

“I am writing in the garden. To write as one should of a garden one must write not outside it or merely somewhere near it, but in the garden.”

“Hang in there. It is astonishing how short a time it can take for very wonderful things to happen.”

“Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it.” (A Little Princess, 1905)

“When a man looks at the stars, he grows calm and forgets small things. They answer his questions and show him that his earth is only one of the million worlds. Hold your soul still and look upward often, and you will understand their speech. Never forget the stars.”

“As long as you have a garden you have a future and as long as you have a future you are alive.” (The Secret Garden, 1909)

“One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts — just mere thoughts — are as powerful as electric batteries — as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got you in you may never get over it as long as you live … (The Secret Garden, 1909)

“Surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, or just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place. Where you tend a rose … a thistle cannot grow.” (The Secret Garden, 1909)

Frances Hodgson Burnett“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” (The Secret Garden, 1909)

“When you will not fly into a passion people know you are stronger than they are, because you are strong enough to hold in your rage, and they are not, and they say stupid things they wish they hadn’t said afterward. There’s nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in–that’s stronger. It’s a good thing not to answer your enemies.” (A Little Princess, 1905)

“Perhaps to be able to learn things quickly isn’t everything. To be kind is worth a great deal to other people…Lots of clever people have done harm and have been wicked.” (A Little Princess, 1905)

“I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses.” (A Little Princess, 1905)

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