Spatial Inscriptions of Childhood: Transformations of the Victorian Garden in The Secret Garden, Tom’s Midnight Garden, and The Poison Garden
- Children's Literature Association Quarterly
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 40, Number 3, Fall 2015
- pp. 217-237
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This article examines the spatial-semantic transformations of the Victorian garden in three novels for children: Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden (1911), Philippa Pearce’s Tom’s Midnight Garden (1958), and Sarah Singleton’s The Poison Garden (2009). Drawing on Michel Foucault’s concept of “heterotopology” and Michel de Certeau’s notion of “spatial practices,” this article reconstructs the evolution of the garden from an intact pastoral setting to a sinister and alienating space. The primary concern of this article is to illustrate how this process of inversion can be read as a spatial mirroring of a gradual deconstruction of the Romantic concept of childhood.