Elizabeth von Arnim in Downton Abbey
We know we are jumping on the bandwagon, but we couldn’t resist. The New York Times ran a piece about the publishing world’s eager reaction to Downton Abbey, and we just had to chime in with our own related author. In the first episode of the new season the odious Molesley presents a book to the virtuous servant Anna in hopes that it will win her over. The book is Elizabeth von Arnim’s Elizabeth and her German Garden, an autobiographical novel about her life with Count Henning August von Arnim-Schlagenthin, who does not come out very well in the book and who later she would called the ‘Man of Wrath’. (Von Arnim was also first cousin of Katherine Mansfield, later married Lord Frances Stanley Russell, older brother of Bertrand Russell, and was the mistress of H.G. Wells).
The book was a huge success when published in 1891, and after she would sign her books as “By the author of Elizabeth and her German Garden” or just “By Elizabeth.” One of these later books is our The Enchanted April, which the Times Literary Supplement described thus: “The Enchanted April sounds as if it would be an appallingly cloying cream puff of a fairy tale, but that would be to ignore that the author habitually kept a pot of lemon juice mixed with vinegar beside her ink-pot.” If you have the Downton Abbey fever check it out; if you are sick about hearing about Downton Abbey, forgive us; if you are still interested in von Arnim read this recent piece from The Independent.