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Elizabeth and her German Garden

Elizabeth and her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim
By: (1866-1941)

Elizabeth and Her German Garden is a novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, first published in 1898; it was very popular and frequently reprinted during the early years of the 20th century. The story is a year's diary written by the protagonist Elizabeth about her experiences learning gardening and interacting with her friends. It includes commentary on the beauty of nature and on society, but is primarily humorous due to Elizabeth's frequent mistakes and her idiosyncratic outlook on life. She looked down upon the frivolous fashions of her time writing "I believe all needlework and dressmaking is of the devil, designed to keep women from study.' The book is the first in a series about the same character. It is noteworthy for being published without a named author.

First Page:


By "Elizabeth", AKA Marie Annette Beauchamp

May 7th. I love my garden. I am writing in it now in the late afternoon loveliness, much interrupted by the mosquitoes and the temptation to look at all the glories of the new green leaves washed half an hour ago in a cold shower. Two owls are perched near me, and are carrying on a long conversation that I enjoy as much as any warbling of nightingales. The gentleman owl says [[musical notes occur here in the printed text]], and she answers from her tree a little way off, [[musical notes]], beautifully assenting to and completing her lord's remark, as becomes a properly constructed German she owl. They say the same thing over and over again so emphatically that I think it must be something nasty about me; but I shall not let myself be frightened away by the sarcasm of owls.

This is less a garden than a wilderness. No one has lived in the house, much less in the garden, for twenty five years, and it is such a pretty old place that the people who might have lived here and did not, deliberately preferring the horrors of a flat in a town, must have belonged to that vast number of eyeless and earless persons of whom the world seems chiefly composed... Continue reading book >>

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Reviews (Rated: 5 Stars - 1 review)

Reviewer: - May 31, 2013
Loved her sense of humor in this book. Fun for a struggling gardener to listen to also. Really enjoyed the narration!

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