Elizabeth Goudge, born in Wells, England in 1900, was a popular writer of historical novels. Her book, Green Dolphin Street, was made into a feature length film. Her books on the Eliot family are perhaps some of her best works. This series explores the complexity of a changing world injured by World War and splitting forever the hand me down values of one generation to another. Goudge's work captured the spirit of the British character in a compelling and spiritual way, especially at a time when most major writers, appearing with her on the best seller list, were producing oppressive and cynical works. Goudge's works had a popular following and many of her novels were best sellers. Yet, she remains untapped as a major literary figure.
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The Joy of the Snow is an autobiographical work by Elizabeth Goudge. It provides insight into the author's life and work through her own words.
The World of Elizabeth Goudge by the late Sylvia Gower is an excellent work uniting the places that inspired stories with the particular works.
Glorying in the Cross by Henry Leighton Goudge, Elizabeth's father, includes a preface written by Elizabeth Goudge. This preface is as much revealing of her father's character as it is her own. The details of her father's childhood and the account of his relationship with his family provide an excellent insight into his influence on Elizabeth's writing. Henry Leighton Goudge became Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford.
Elizabeth Goudge was born in Wells, Somerset on April 24, 1900. Her father, the Reverend Henry Goudge, taught at the cathedral school. Her mother, Ida Colette, was raised in the Channel Islands. Her parents would influence her writing but not as much as the places she lived. Wells figures in to many of her stories.
Elizabeth moved with her family to Ely Cathedral when her father accepted a position there. There is no doubt this location with its beauty and character of the great cathedral had a profound influence on her life and writing.
Image of interior shot of Ely Cathedral from Wikimedia commons by Ziko.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons, Copyright Richard Gallagher. Permission is granted to copy, distribute, and/or modify under the GFDL, version 1.2 any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.
Goudge's father became Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. Moving from Wells was traumatic, but Elizabeth soon learned to love Oxford, although her mother never liked it. Towers in the Mist was her work of historical fiction about Oxford during the reign of Elizabeth I.