Read Lost Prince, The by Frances Hodgson Burnett Free Online
Book Title: Lost Prince, The|
The author of the book: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Date of issue: July 9th 2002
ISBN 13: 9781404314030
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 984 KB
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Reader ratings: 3.9
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Marco is a 12 year old boy raised by his father and his father's devoted servant. They live in dingy little rented rooms that are visited by secretive gentlemen. They travel constantly, and Marco has been trained since birth to pass as a native of any of the countries in Europe. When a crisis hits, Marco needs all of his training and devotion to his father.
This is a romantic tale, not in the sense of love but in the sense that it's a fantasy of how European feudalism works, a bit like The Prisoner of Zenda crossed with the Scarlet Pimpernell. The men are all Real Men, women are Real Women, and all the classes instinctively know and hold to Their Place. The lower classes feel an innate, uncontrollable devotion to those who should justly rule them. The upper classes are natural leaders, who always know the right thing to do. Marco's every word and movement betrays him as someone who should be obeyed. Supposedly, people's eyes follow him down the street and they exclaim in wonder at his regal bearing. (His lower class friend, by the way, literally begs to be allowed to polish his boots.)
This is basically the boy's version of The Little Princess, except that Marco is macho where Sarah is girly. In both, they are big-eyed children with thick dark hair who are devoted to their papas. They are characterized by their imaginations, high intelligence, bravery, and innate poise. After a childhood spent accepting service as their natural due, cruel and foolish people force them into isolation and poverty. And yet, their inborn abilities allow them to rise above those who would destroy them, and they triumph in the end by being richer and more powerful than before. Even complete strangers are excited by their triumph, because they so obviously, naturally deserve wealth and power.
I found it all revolting. I'm used to the gender essentialism in Burnett, but she really goes all out in her classism. It's such an obvious, contrived fantasy, and I really lost all patience for it early on. I probably could have borne it better if Marco hadn't been so perfect (even Sarah Crewe gets a moment of frustration--but Marco always thinks and does the right thing), if the big plot twist (view spoiler)[Marco is the lost prince! surprise! wasn't so obvious, or if the spiritualist subplot hadn't been so dreadful. As it was, I forced my way through only by reading the worst passages aloud to my roommates so we could cackle at them together. (hide spoiler)]
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Read information about the authorFrances 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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