Elizabeth And Her German Garden (Virago Modern Classics)

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Elizabeth And Her German Garden (Virago Modern Classics)

Elizabeth And Her German Garden (Virago Modern Classics)

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In describing her garden, Elizabeth gives the reader glimpses of her own past and present, and of her husband (dubbed "the Man of Wrath") and her "babies," her three young daughters. Or, again, relating the misogyny of her husband (‘only strong-minded women wish to see you the equals of men, and the strong-minded are invariably plain’) as an amusing and vaguely endearing foible. When Minora was first introduced as an intelligent and hardworking woman, the Man of Wrath had this to say, “Then she is not pretty. Stuck in a foreign land with an overbearing husband, Elizabeth took in to gardening and writing as a solace.

However, although von Arnim's prose are fluent and quite elegant, I found this book lacked drive and plot. Kreuzzeitung = The Neue Preußische Zeitung ("New Prussian Newspaper"), a German newspaper printed in Berlin from 1848–1939. She gives some lovely descriptions of her house and garden as well as of the surrounding area, while at the same time revealing herself as someone with very clear views about her life and world. Gardening and writing became her means of escape while struggling to find a foothold in the foreign culture of the high-class German society to which her husband belonged.

She does not actually garden, being a lady; she says on several occasions that she wishes she could just get a spade and dig instead of having to give instructions. Although the book is absolutely focused on creating a garden on a neglected estate, the reader gets a clear picture of the social constraints on women at that time, and of Elizabeth's marriage. I know the intention was to be humorous, but I was ready to get away from all three women and back into the garden, alone! As usual in a number of places von Arnim had me chuckling such as in this passage in which Elizabeth and two women who are staying at her house for a while are having a picnic outside in the dead of winter and one of the visitors is freezing her butt off. Like Woolf, however, she was also ahead of her times, voicing defiant feminist views and caring little what everyone else thought.

It is the most unpleasant thing in the world to eat sandwiches with immense fur and woolen gloves on, and I think we ate as much fur as anything, and choked exceedingly during the process. I don’t love things that will only bear the garden for three or four months in the year and require coaxing and petting for the rest of it. In July 2015, it was adapted in five episodes for the Book at Bedtime series on BBC Radio 4, and read by Caroline Martin. Here we see the more acid, worldly side of Elizabeth, and learn more about the Man of Wrath who has evidently earned his nickname.

This marriage also ended in separation in 1919 when Elizabeth moved to America, where she died on 9 February 1941, aged 74. After seven difficult years and three daughters, Elizabeth wrote her first book, "Elizabeth and her German Garden," which was an instant hit. In my garden you could find a murder of crows, a knot of toads and some gopher tortoises digging holes.

Elizabeth von Arnim liberally sprinkles her stories with German words and phrases that she doesn't bother translating, so I got to play German translator for our group read. This, being the late 19th century, it seemed unusual for a woman to be sworn off all manner of housework. Born Mary Annette Beauchamp in Sydney, Australia, she was raised in England and in 1891 married Count Henning August von Arnim, a Prussian aristocrat, and the great-great-great-grandson of King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia. Where Virginia Woolf said that women need a room of their own, von Arnim makes a strong case for a garden as that most necessary of settings. And her quick explanation of the dejected gardener who walked around with a spade in one hand and a revolver in the other.Elizabeth married a widower twice her age and referred to her first three children as the April baby, the May baby and the June baby. Personally I sort of tolerated this kind of botanical rhapsodizing because (a) the book is so short (not much over 100 pages on my Kindle), and (b) Elizabeth pretty much gives equal time to talking--and sometimes snarking--about her family, visitors, and life in general, and she can be extremely funny. It includes commentary on nature and bourgeois German society, but is primarily humorous due to Elizabeth's frequent mistakes and her idiosyncratic outlook on life. Visitors--some pleasant, some vastly irritating--come and go, or sometimes come and stay, even when Elizabeth would rather they just left. Elizabeth and her German Garden, published anonymously in 1898, was a barely fictionalised account of Elizabeth’s life and the creation of her garden at the family home of Nassenheide in Pomerania, where Hugh Walpole and E.

Through Elizabeth and her German Garden, she tells us her story with a bit of fiction here and there thrown in. 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 know you have to view this through eyes of the time but I found her views of people from a class she saw as below her awful. If that sounds less affectionate than disturbing, you may have a hint of what will develop in future books from Elizabeth's struggle to work through her unsatisfying home life. Her husband, one of the Prussian nobility and a very wealthy man, paid for slave labor from Poland and Russia to work for him.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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