The entire third chapter is dedicated to the relationship with Katherine Mansfield. Curiously, however, as Maddison observes, von Arnim did not always receive positive reviews, especially if we think of Virginia Woolf and Rebecca West. Nevertheless, as this study demonstrates, von Arnim proves to have been a solid author who had much to say to her audience, and was certainly an important contributor to contemporary literature, living partly in Germany, partly in England, representing a transcultural experience, as we would say today.
Nevertheless, as many of her personal statements indicate, she had little positive to say about the Germans at [End Page ] large and mostly embraced stereotypical views imbibed from British propaganda in the wake of the First World War. I list just a few from recent years: Sandra Harbert Petrulionis et al. U of MA Press, , The bibliography is arranged in such a peculiar fashion that the reader has a hard time figuring out the system.
Pleasantly, the volume concludes with an index. Most important, Maddison has put together an appendix with an accurate overview of the relevant papers by the author, from to , a finding aid. While the introductory chapter with its biographical sketch proves to be most helpful, I am missing a conclusion or an epilogue in which the various aspects discussed here would have been pulled together. Elizabeth rejects the laws of exchange and profit-making as she supports free access to resources:.
What a waste of life, just getting and spending. Sitting by my pansy beds, with the slow clouds floating leisurely past, and all the clear day before me, I look on at the hot scramble for the pennies of existence. They are only pennies, after all—unpleasant, battered copper things, without a gold piece among them, and never worth the degradation of self, and the hatred of those below you who have fewer, and the derision of those above you who have more.
A piece of bread, a pot of geraniums and books are enough for someone who wishes to live in a world outside constraints, all the more so because she is well-provided for by her social background. The question of mental health arises in both novels, which insist one never really knows if madness is kept inside or outside the garden.
Being excluded from Law and Reason, women find a place in the garden, which is neither an institutionalized area nor an extension of the domestic sphere. Elizabeth feels born again in her aesthetically pleasing and poetic garden where only books and poetry are welcomed. She recreates her natural environment so as to make it a world of beauty. Even her emotions, including sadness, are depicted in an idealized or artistic manner: The world surrounding her is reconstructed through the eyes and the pen of the aesthete who has cut herself off not only from the constraints but also the simple pleasures of an indoor life.
She lives in a time that is not organized according to domestic activities any longer and that instead follows the pastoral succession of seasons: Nature is a world of personified creatures that have a conscience as well as desires and that replace the individuals who have social and family commitments. They contribute to the construction of her protecting cocoon of beauty. She borrows them from her library, which is an in-between room, not really part of the house, and opening onto the garden.
In this room, Elizabeth is free to find the perfect reading for her time of rest and her walks in the garden.
Her descriptions of her visits to the library combine words linking gardening, day-dreaming and indulging in simple pleasures: Elizabeth chooses authors according to the places where she reads them: Goethe when she faces south, Whitman by the rose beds, Keats in the forest, Spenser on the moss and, of course, Thoreau by the pond.
The combination of the green spaces and books as the perfect one for freedom is complete when Elizabeth imagines herself rejoicing and chatting with Thoreau, he making statements and herself laughing and thinking. She indulges in his vision of nature, philosophy and wisdom yet never lets herself be influenced by his judgment when his behaviour becomes too domineering and uncompromising.
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She renews the Victorian love for cottage garden by refreshing the language of flowers that can speak out their own claims, being ecological or more gender-oriented. That being said, one must admit that the pleasures she indulges in do not stem from the accumulation of wealth but from a genuine wish for emancipation through artistic devices. She never creates a mawkish world of flowers, books and birds because nature is never feminized; she rather revisits the pastoral tradition without chartering nature or reconstructing it as a muse and introduces elements of denunciation so as to balance moderate feminism and garden writing.
Gates Barbara, Kindred Nature: UP of Chicago, Hapgood Lynne, Margins of Desire: Horwood Catherine, Gardening Women: Their Stories from to the Present , London: McKay George, Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism, and Rebellion in the Garden , London: Frances Lincoln Limited, The Fabian Society, UP of Virginia, Hapgood considers Kathleen L.
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See Lynn Hapgood , Margins of Desire: The page numbers of the two memoirs will be given directly after quotations. Kindness and care are required to protect animals and create bonds between living creatures. Fisher Unwin, 2—3. Contrary to Brightwen, von Arnim is not committed to any animal cause; creatures of her gardens as well as her pets participate in the construction of her own egoistic hedonism.
In All the Dogs of My Life , von Arnim tells how she had her fat dog, Pincher, put down because it hindered her own freedom to travel. They smashed a quantity of glass in the orchid house, and in a manner that one can scarcely accredit to sane adults, wantonly tried to destroy the plants. Rare and delicate plants, under bell-glasses, attracted the special venom of these feminists. Politics, Idealism, and Rebellion in the Garden London: Earle admit that weeds are often the most attractive flowers.
As a gardener, she knows that they have to be pulled out, but as a nature-lover she praises the beauty of some weeds: See Catherine Horwood , Gardening Women: Their Stories from to the Present London: Most female gardeners and nature writers insist on the gender implications of weeding, always showing the bond between agricultural and human misfits. Conundrums for the Long Week-End. The Life of Bertrand Russell.
Elizabeth von Arnim
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Elizabeth von Arnim - Wikipedia
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