Elizabeth and her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim - review by Julie Kavanagh

Julie Kavanagh

Back to Nature

Elizabeth and her German Garden

By

Virago 207pp £2.95 order from our bookshop
 

Elizabeth and her German Garden became something of a cult when it was published in 1898, reprinting 21 times by the following year. There was much speculation about the identity and sex of its author (in the new Virago edition Elizabeth Jane Howard has written a lively summary of her biography), but even with the twenty-one books she went on to write, ‘Elizabeth’ retained her anonymity.

Reviews of the book were mixed. The author was hailed as a witty, feminine Thoreau, criticised for not providing conventional gardening tips, pronounced ‘selfish’ for championing solitude and deploring wifely duty by Quiller-Couch, who also complained about her grammatical lapses – even though it’s precisely the colloquial tone and immediacy

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter