Elizabeth and Her German Garden

Elizabeth and Her German GardenAlternative Cover Edition For ISBN May Th There Were Days Last Winter When I Danced For Sheer Joy Out In My Frost Bound Garden In Spite Of My Years And Children But I Did It Behind A Bush, Having A Due Regard For The Decencies In This Novel, Elizabeth S Uniquely Witty Pen Records Each Season In Her Beloved Garden, Where She Escapes From The Stifling Routine Of The Indoors Servants, Meals, Domestic Routine, And The Presence Of Her Overbearing Husband This is a book to disappear into and I did 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 As Voltaire before her said that happiness lies in the cultivation of a garden as Cicero said that if you have a garden and a library you have everything you need as the garden was where Jane Austen went and refreshed herself and as gardens frequently featured in both her novels and her letters, Elizabeth von Arnim is in good company in that little subculture of writers who seem to enter into magical worlds in both their books and in their gardens In her writing style, too, I heard echoes of Austen The book a biographical novel is infused with words of love for her garden but gently filled with ironic comments about her babies her three children, the eldest of whom is five and no baby , her husband termed only The Man of Wrath , her friends whom she doesn t need often, her preference being solitude in her garden , her horticultural indulgences, as she calls them, and many other details that made up von Arnim s life of privilege Like Woolf, however, she was also ahead of her times, voicing defiant feminist views and caring little what everyone else thought.There was not a page in the book that didn t make me smile, hardly a paragraph that didn t include some ironic comment This is what she had to say about working in a garden when she was expected to languish prettily indoors It is not graceful, and it makes one hot but it is a blessed sort of work, and if Eve had had a spade in Paradise and known what to do with it, we should not have had all that sad business of the apple.I managed to read a bit of this book in my own garden the other day, when we finally had a spot of what might be termed summer With the roses in bloom, and with their fragrances wafting hither and dither, it was the perfect setting for this lovely little book. Elizabeth and her German Garden is a semi autobiographical book written in 1898 by Elizabeth von Arnim author of The Enchanted April about her life and garden in the area of Nassenheide, Pomerania, where the family had their estate her husband was minor nobility.Pomerania is an area in the northeast part of Germany and northwest part of Poland, on the south shores of the Baltic Sea Random interesting trivia it s also the home of Malbork Castle, the largest castle in the world This book is written in a loose diary form and doesn t have any plot to speak of it s like hanging out for a year with Elizabeth and her young family a husband, called Man of Wrath for reasons not really readily apparent from the text, and three young daughters, ages 3 5, nicknamed the April, May and June babies Visitors some pleasant, some vastly irritating come and go, or sometimes come and stay, even when Elizabeth would rather they just left Frankly, Elizabeth really would rather everyone just left her alone so she could focus on her garden not that Elizabeth really knows all that much about gardening, but she is determined to learn, and she loves being surrounded by flowers.I appreciated Elizabeth s passion for nature If you re a gardening lover, you ll probably love this In this book you will be frequently confronted with paragraphs like this one I wish the years would pass quickly that will bring my garden to perfection The Persian Yellows have gone into their new quarters, and their place is occupied by the tearose Safrano all the rose beds hare carpeted with pansies sown in July and transplanted in October, each bed having a separate colour The purple ones are the most charming and go well with every rose, but I have white ones with Laurette Messimy, and yellow ones with Safrano, and a new red sort in the big centre bed of red roses If this sort of language brings a thrill to your heart, you really need to read this book 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.These despicable but irritating mosquitoes don t seem to have anything to do but to sit in multitudes on the sand, waiting for any prey Providence may send them and as soon as the carriage appears they rise up in a cloud, and rush to meet us, almost dragging us out bodily, and never leave us until we drive away again The sudden view of the sea from the messy, pine covered height directly above it where we picnic the wonderful stretch of lonely shore with the forest to the water s edge the coloured sails in the blue distance the freshness, the brightness, the vastness all is lost upon the picnickers, and made worse than indifferent to them, by the perpetual necessity they are under of fighting these horrid creatures It is nice being the only person who ever goes there or shows it to anybody, but if people went, perhaps the mosquitoes would be less lean, and hungry, and pleased to see us It has, however, the advantage of being a suitable place to which to take refractory visitors when they have stayed too long, or left my books out in the garden all night, or otherwise made their presence a burden too grievous to be borne then one fine hot morning when they are all looking limp, I suddenly propose a picnic on the Baltic I have never known this proposal fail to be greeted with exclamations of surprise and delight The Baltic You never told us you were within driving distance How heavenly to get a breath of sea air on a day like this The very thought puts new life into one And how delightful to see the Baltic Oh, please take us And then I take them.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 Like Lady Catherine de Bourgh, I love to be of use My German translations are in the comment thread to this review, for anyone who might find them helpful, along with our buddy read discussions ETA I ve also copied these translations at the end of this review, per Hana s suggestion.Elizabeth s husband pops into the story from time to time Occasionally he goes off into pompous lectures about the frailties and shortcomings of women He seems to be doing it with tongue in cheek, just to tease his wife or bait the women listening to him, but I did find myself wondering just how much he really meant it, and these parts were irritating to read So minus a star for those sections and for the parts when the gardening trivialities and minutiae made my eyes glaze over But overall this is an enjoyable short novel about an unusual, intelligent, literate woman and her dislikes and passions, and a charming glimpse into a time long ago and far away 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 Give me a garden full of strong, healthy creatures, able to stand roughness and cold without dismally giving in and dying I never could see that delicacy of constitution is pretty, either in plants or women 3 1 2 stars September 2014 buddy read with Jeannette, Hana and Carolien.German translations with apologies for any errors sebr typo in Gutenberg edition should be sehr anspruchlos very undemandingNoch ein dummes Frauenzimmer Another stupid female Frauenzimmer literally means women s room it s an archaic, rather derogatory expression for a woman unangenehme unpleasantDie war doch immer verdreht She was always nutty crazyGasthof an innBackfisch an immature, adolescent girl literally baked fish Unsinn nonsenseFetzt typo, should be Jetzt halte ich dich aber fest Now I m holding you, but tight or loosely Now I ve got you but good das Praktische the practicalWarte nur, wenn ich dich erst habe Just wait until I get hold of you Frisur hairdoDiesmal wirst du mir aber nicht entschlupfen This time you won t escape me Kreuzzeitung The Neue Preu ische 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.Trost in Trauer consolation in griefAuge um Auge, Zahn um Zahn eye for an eye, tooth for a toothHebe dich weg von mir, Sohn des Satans Get thee away from me, son of Satan this is a loose translation because literally hebe dich means lift yourself wenn du schreist, kneife ich dich bis du platzt if you yell cry, I ll pinch you until you burstWill Satan mich verschlingen, so lass die Engel singen Hallelujah Satan wants to devour me, so let the angels sing Hallelujah Spickgans smoked breast of goose a northern German dish entz ckend, reizend, herrlich, wundervoll and s ss adorable, delightful, splendid, wonderful and sweet I added the umlauts the Gutenberg copy is missing them Geburtstagkind birthday childSchlass typo, should be Schloss manor house or mansion in other contexts it means castle, but I don t think that s what was intended here alter Esel old ass as in donkey Fictional autobiography would be the proper way to describe this book Elizabeth is snarky and opinionated but in such an adorable way that you can t help but like her All she wants to do is take care of her large garden and her three young children, and be left alone She tolerates her husband and refers to him as the Man of Wrath He talks the talk but Elizabeth doesn t let him walk the walk Her oldest baby girl is five, born in April and is appropriately called The April Baby The four year old was born in May and the three year old in June, and yes, they are The May Baby and The June Baby When some escaped cows threaten to trample the garden, the June Baby grabs a stick bigger than herself and holds the astonished cows at bay until help arrives Little anecdotes like this are scattered throughout and I was pleasantly surprised and entertained What can you ask of a book Totally loved Elizabeth and her snarky, honest self She wants to be left alone to enjoy her garden and her books I can completely identify.

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 She had met von Arnim during an Italian tour with her father They married in London but lived in Berlin and eventually moved to the countryside where, in Nassenheide, Pomerania, the von Arnims had their family estate The couple had five children, four daughters and a son The children s tutors at Nassenheide included E M Forster and Hugh Walpole.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.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.She was a cousin of

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  • Paperback
  • 207 pages
  • Elizabeth and Her German Garden
  • Elizabeth von Arnim
  • English
  • 14 February 2018

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