Read A Fair Barbarian by Frances Hodgson Burnett Free Online

Ebook A Fair Barbarian by Frances Hodgson Burnett read! Book Title: A Fair Barbarian
The size of the: 654 KB
Edition: Dodo Press
Date of issue: August 1st 2007
ISBN: 1406553425
ISBN 13: 9781406553420
The author of the book: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Language: English
Format files: PDF

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A young, beautiful American heiress descends upon a tiny sleepy English town. Burnett loves gender and class stereotypes; there is nothing she likes more than to write about a lady's delicate features or a man's strong arms, and certainly every member of the lower classes is flatteringly awed by their betters. Nevertheless, the American Octavia Bassett manages to upset the usual mode just a little--when she is asked to marry a handsome, well-bred and rich Englishman, she refuses with composure. I love the scene:

'"You don't want _me_," she said. "You want somebody meeker,--somebody who would respect you very much, and obey you. I'm not used to obeying people."
"Do you mean also that you would not respect me?" he inquired bitterly.
"Oh," she replied, "you haven't respected me much!"
"Excuse me"--he began, in his loftiest manner.
"You didn't respect me enough to think me worth marrying," she said. "I was not the kind of girl you would have chosen of your own will."
"You are treating me unfairly!" he cried.
"You were going to give me a great deal, I suppose--looking at it in your way," she went on; "but, if I _wasn't_ exactly what you wanted, I had something to give too. I'm young enough to have a good many years to live; and I should have to live them with you, if I married you. That's something, you know."
He rose from his seat pale with wrath and wounded feeling.
"Does this mean that you refuse me?" he demanded, "that your answer is'no'?"
She rose, too--not exultant, not confused, neither pale nor flushed. He had never seen her prettier, more charming, or more natural.
"It would have been 'no,' even if there hadn't been any obstacle," she answered.
"Then," he said, "I need say no more. I see that I have--humiliated myself in vain; and it is rather bitter, I must confess."
"It wasn't my fault," she remarked.'

I love her! There's nothing more refreshing than someone who is aware of the values of her peers, but recognizes their limitations and that they are important only in relative terms. The plot of My Fair Barbarian is not complex or surprising, but it is short and sweet. It is also a good showcase for Burnett's ability at writing Victorian literature that lacks a surprising number of the usual pitfalls of that era--the sentences contain only a few clauses each, the dialog is impressively natural, and the characters are personalities of their own, rather than archetypes acting out a morality pagant.

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Ebook A Fair Barbarian read Online! Frances Eliza Hodgson was the daughter of ironmonger Edwin Hodgson, who died three years after her birth, and his wife Eliza Boond. She was educated at The Select Seminary for Young Ladies and Gentleman until the age of fifteen, at which point the family ironmongery, then being run by her mother, failed, and the family emigrated to Knoxville, Tennessee. Here Hodgson began to write, in order to supplement the family income, assuming full responsibility for the family upon the death of her mother, in 1870. In 1872 she married Dr. Swan Burnett, with whom she had two sons, Lionel and Vivian. The marriage was dissolved in 1898. In 1900 Burnett married actor Stephen Townsend until 1902 when they got divorced. Following her great success as a novelist, playwright, and children's author, Burnett maintained homes in both England and America, traveling back and forth quite frequently. She died in her Long Island, New York home, in 1924.

Primarily remembered today for her trio of classic children's novels - Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911) - Burnett was also a popular adult novelist, in her own day, publishing romantic stories such as The Making of a Marchioness (1901) for older readers.

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