Elizabeth and Her German Garden

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Elizabeth and Her German Garden

Elizabeth and Her German Garden

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a b c Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edition (UK library card required): Arnim, Mary Annette [May] von. Retrieved 5 March 2014. The April Baby's Book of Tunes (1900) (Illustrated by Kate Greenaway) – online at Project Gutenberg Eberle, Iwona: Eve with a Spade: Women, Gardens, and Literature in the Nineteenth Century. Munich: Grin, 2011. ISBN 9783640843558 She looked down upon the frivolous fashions of her time writing “I believe all needlework and dressmaking is of the devil, designed to keep women from study.” The hapless Minora is also writing a book: '“Oh, I thought of calling it Journeyings in Germany. It sounds well, and would be correct. Or Jottings from German Journeyings--I haven't quite decided yet...”

The utter randomness of Elizabeth's semi-autobiographical memoir may turn off some readers. She begins her tale in the present but regresses to the past roughly halfway through. She blends family and flowers, weather and food. Then she witnesses the treatment of women by their laboring husbands and was lectured by the Man Of Wrath on the acceptability of beating your wife. These women accept their beating with a simplicity worthy of all praise, and far from considering themselves insulted, admire the strength and energy of the man who can administer such eloquent rebukes. Further, the story goes on, with the politics, prejudices, vanities and weaknesses of the German people at the turn of the century. I am not sure what happened to that happy garden and when the diatribes became commonplace. I like her. I like the standards she sets for her own deportment. She does not mope or complain. She is aware of the advantages life with her husband afford her. She appreciates what she has and makes the best of it. I like her positive attitude. The book has so many marvelous quotes that I would have made countless notes in the margins if I hadn't been reading a library book. Some favorites:

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The passion for being ever with one's fellows, and the fear of being left for a few hours alone, is to me wholly incomprehensible. I can entertain myself quite well for weeks together, hardly aware, except for the pervading peace, that I have been alone at all ... I like to have people staying with me for a few days, or even a few weeks, should they be as undemanding as I am myself, and content with simple joys; only, any one who comes here and would be happy must have something in him; if he be a mere blank creature, empty of head and heart, he will very probably find it dull. I should like my house to be often full if I could find people capable of enjoying themselves. They should be welcomed and sped with equal heartiness; for truth compels me to confess that, though it pleases me to see them come, it pleases me just as much to see them go." George Walsh, "Lady Russell, 74, Famous Novelist, Author of 'Elizabeth and Her German Garden' Dies in a Charleston, S. C., Hospital". Obituary in New York Times, 10 February 1941 In the first ten years of the 20th century, Elizabeth von Arnim's book Elizabeth and Her German Garden was widely read and reprinted. In "Elizabeth and Her German Garden," Elizabeth chronicles a year in her life while learning to garden and interacting with her friends. Elizabeth's mistakes and her peculiar perspective make it mostly humorous, despite the fact that it makes fun of society and the wonders of nature. The narrative contains many heart-warming and adorable passages. She also talks affectionately about her children and occasionally makes sarcastic jokes about people who might disrupt her peaceful way of life. The memoir is written in the form of diary entries in which Elizabeth records not just the growth of her garden but also her relationship with her husband (whom she called ‘The Man of Wrath’), her three children, and the friends who come to visit and stay at her house. There are some lovely anecdotes of her interactions with her three young children that are quite delightful and humorous. Elizabeth and Her German Garden is a novel by the Australian-born writer Elizabeth von Arnim, first published in 1898. It was very popular and frequently reprinted during the early years of the 20th century. [1]

The children's tutors at Nassenheide included E. M. Forster, who worked there for several months in the spring and summer of 1905. [11] Forster wrote a short memoir of the months he spent there. [15] From April to July 1907 the writer Hugh Walpole was the children's tutor. [16] Enormously popular upon publication, Elizabeth and Her German Garden earned the author quite a tidy sum in its time. Though it has had a mini-revival as a quietly feminist tale, it has struggled to maintain stature as a classic. Unhappily married to “The Man of Wrath”a b Römhild, Juliane (2014) Femininity and Authorship in the Novels of Elizabeth von Arnim: At Her Most Radiant Moment, pp. 16–24. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-61147-704-7

Her 1922 work, The Enchanted April, inspired by a month-long holiday to the Italian Riviera, is perhaps the lightest and most ebullient of her novels. It has regularly been adapted for the stage and screen: as a Broadway play in 1925, a 1935 American feature film, an Academy Award-nominated feature film in 1992 (starring Josie Lawrence, Jim Broadbent and Joan Plowright among others), a Tony Award-nominated stage play in 2003, a musical play in 2010, and in 2015 a serial on BBC Radio 4. Terence de Vere White credits The Enchanted April with making the Italian resort of Portofino fashionable. [28] It is also, probably, the most widely read of all her works, having been a Book-of-the-Month club choice in America upon publication. [28] I should like my house to be often full if I could find people capable of enjoying themselves. They should be welcomed and sped with equal heartiness; for truth compels me to confess that, though it pleases me to see them come, it pleases me just as much to see them go.”

More about Elizabeth and Her German Garden 

Count von Arnim died in 1910, and in 1916 Elizabeth married John Francis Stanley Russell, 2nd Earl Russell, Bertrand Russell's elder brother. The marriage ended in disaster, with Elizabeth escaping to the United States and the couple finally agreeing, in 1919, to get a divorce. She also had an affair with H. G. Wells. Katie Elizabeth Young, More than 'Wisteria and Sunshine': The Garden as a Space of Female Introspection and Identity in Elizabeth von Arnim's 'The Enchanted April' and 'Vera'. Master's thesis, Brigham University, 2011 ( PDF) Humor takes a zillion different forms. The humor here is best described as self-deprecating wit. Elizabeth is a woman of her era. Open confrontation is out of the question. She is a woman of high social standing and remains always polite. Even in her diary she bridles vituperative musings. Yet the reader comes to understand exactly what Elizabeth is thinking. In 1898 she started her literary career by publishing Elizabeth and Her German Garden, a semi-autobiographical novel about a rural idyll published anonymously and, as it turned out to be highly successful, reprinted 21 times within the first year. Von Arnim wrote another 20 books, which were all published "By the author of Elizabeth and Her German Garden". In the middle of this plain is the oasis of bird cherries and greenery where I spend my happy days, and in the middle of the oasis is the gray stone house with many gables where I pass my reluctant nights.”

Ruth Derham, Bertrand's Brother: The Marriages, Morals and Misdemeanours of Frank, 2nd Earl Russell. Stroud: Amberley Publishing, ISBN 9781398102835. Maddison, Isobel (2013). "Worms of the same family: Elizabeth von Arnim and Katherine Mansfield". Elizabeth von Arnim: Beyond the German Garden. Farnham: Ashgate. ISBN 9781409411673. Amanda DeWees, "Elizabeth von Arnim". An Encyclopedia of British Women Writers, ed. Paul Schlueter and June Schlueter. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1998, pp.13 ff. Howard, Elizabeth Jane. Introduction to Elizabeth and Her German Garden, by Elizabeth von Arnim. London: Virago, 1985. v-xii. Katie Roiphe, Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Portraits of Married Life in London Literary Circles 1910–1939. New York: Dial Press, 2008 ISBN 9780385339377Kreuzzeitung = The Neue Preußische Zeitung ("New Prussian Newspaper"), a German newspaper printed in Berlin from 1848–1939. It was known as the Kreuzzeitung ("Cross Newspaper") because its emblem was an Iron Cross (per Wikipedia).

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