Elizabeth and Her German Garden

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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.[1]

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.

In popular culture[edit]

Molesley lends a copy of this book to Anna in the second episode of the second season of Downton Abbey.

In the novel The Shell Seekers (1988) by Rosamunde Pilcher, Sophie reads Elizabeth von Arnim’s "Elizabeth and her German Garden“. In chapter 9 ("Sophie“), Sophie says to Penelope: "[…] I always go back to it. It comforts me. Soothes me. It reminds me of a world that once existed and will exist again when the war has finished.“

In the novel The Gurnsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society, it is referred to by Elizabeth as having been the topic of discussion at the society meeting that she pretended had taken place on the night of the roast pork dinner.


  • Eberle, Iwona: Eve with a Spade: Women, Gardens, and Literature in the Nineteenth Century. Munich: Grin, 2011. ISBN 9783640843558
  • Haines, Sheila. ‘Angles had everywhere taken the place of curves’: Elizabeth von Arnim and the German Garden. In: Turn of the Century Women 2.2 (1985): 36-41.
  • Howard, Elizabeth Jane. Introduction to Elizabeth and Her German Garden, by Elizabeth von Arnim. London: Virago, 1985. v-xii.
  • Kellaway, Deborah. Gardening writers. In: The Cambridge Guide to Women’s Writing in English. Ed. Lorna Sage, advis. eds. Germaine Greer et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. 263f.
  • Paparunas, Penny. Geschlechterdiskurs um 1900 – Review of Elizabeth von Arnim's 'Elisabeth und ihr Garten'. Frauenzeitung 2 (2007): 41.
  • Roemhild, Juliane. Feminity and Authorship in the Novels of Elizabeth von Arnim. New Jersey, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press 2014.
  • Trodd, Anthea. Elizabeth and Her German Garden. In: The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English. Ed. Lorna Sage, advis. eds. Germaine Greer et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. 219.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Robin Lane Fox: Thorn amid the roses, in: Financial Times, 25 July 2015, p. 20