Author of the Month: Elizabeth von Arnim

Born as Mary Annette Beauchamp at Kirribilli Point in Australia in 1866, the novelist and memoirist Elizabeth von Arnim grew up in England, and subsequently lived in Germany, France and Switzerland before dying in the United States in 1941. As an inhabitant of the upper echelons of European high society, her life was both privileged and troubled, a disjunct that is mirrored in the characteristic light/dark, tragic/comic tone of her fictional work. In one of her letters she once wrote ‘I'm so glad I didn't die on the various occasions I have earnestly wished I might, for I would have missed a lot of lovely weather.’

Her most famous novel The Enchanted April has been adapted several times for both stage and screen, and her 1909 satirical novel The Caravaners, about the manners of the English as seen through the bemused and occasionally incredulous eyes of a Prussian aristocrat, has recently been reissued by Handheld Press.

The Enchanted April

Elizabeth von Arnim, introduction by Salley Vickers

John recommends:

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim is one of the most joyful books I've read – funny and weightless and sun-drenched and deeply moving. The perfect read for a dismal ...

The Caravaners

Elizabeth von Arnim

From the publisher:

The Caravaners (1909) is a devastating comedy about an Edwardian caravan holiday in Kent, narrated by the pompous and self-important Baron, a Prussian Major in the German ...

Elizabeth and Her German Garden

Elizabeth von Arnim

From the publisher:

Meet Elizabeth and discover there is no greater happiness to be found than when lost in a wilderness of a garden, with bird cherries, lilacs, hollyhocks and lilies crowding ...

Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther

Elizabeth von Arnim

From the publisher:

What on earth could have induced Mr Anstruther to fall in love with Fraulein Schmidt? He is an eligible English bachelor from a good family with great expectations; But ...

Vera

Elizabeth von Arnim

From the publisher:

Lucy Entwhistle and Everard Wemyss are both reeling from recent unhappiness when they meet and swiftly fall in love. Lucy is Wemyss’s ‘sweet girl’, and to Lucy, Everard ...