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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