Writing happiness

A lively look at Elizabeth von Arnim
by
January–February 2021, no. 428
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Juliane Roemhild reviews 'Only Happiness Here: In search of Elizabeth von Arnim' by Gabrielle Carey

Only Happiness Here: In search of Elizabeth von Arnim

by Gabrielle Carey

University of Queensland Press, $32.99 pb, 250 pp

Buy this book

Writing happiness

A lively look at Elizabeth von Arnim
by
January–February 2021, no. 428

How could she write happiness so well? For Gabrielle Carey, this is the driving question in her search for Elizabeth von Arnim (1866–1941), an Australian-born writer of more than twenty bestselling satirical novels who married a German count and then an English lord, bore five children, lived all over Europe, and hosted the British intellectual and literary élite at her Swiss chalet. Von Arnim’s novels are still available in many editions. A literary celebrity in the early twentieth century, she retains a loyal readership but has been largely forgotten by literary history. After losing ‘faith in the very idea of happiness, let alone the pursuit of it’ in a deep personal crisis, Carey turns to von Arnim as a guide to restore her faith, following the author’s dictum that happiness is ‘attainable by all except the unworthy and deluded’.

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Juliane Roemhild reviews 'Only Happiness Here: In search of Elizabeth von Arnim' by Gabrielle Carey

Only Happiness Here: In search of Elizabeth von Arnim

by Gabrielle Carey

University of Queensland Press, $32.99 pb, 250 pp

Supporting Australian writers and readers

Australian Book Review – now sixty years old – stands for independent, reasoned journalism. Never has it been more important. Help us to support Australian writers by making a tax-deductible donation. ABR Patrons sustain and enhance this unique critical resource.

DONATEBECOME A PATRON

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