Elizabeth von Arnim

Hello, book clubs

Elizabeth von Arnim crossed paths – and sometimes swords – with the leading artists, writers and thinkers of her era.

E.M. Forster tutored her children, and never forgave her for tormenting him as a young man.

She had a tempestuous relationship with writer H.G. Wells, who later wrote a kiss-and-tell account of their affair.

Elizabeth visited Bertrand Russell when he was imprisoned for pacifism during World War I, sometimes with society hostess Lady Ottoline Morrell. Elizabeth remained friends with Bertrand Russell long after her disastrous marriage to his brother ended.

Virginia Woolf admired Elizabeth’s writing, some of which she considered as good as Dickens.

Elizabeth became close to her New Zealand-born cousin Katherine Mansfield when they lived in Switzerland in the 1920s. Yet theirs was a prickly friendship.

Elizabeth’s final novel, Mr Skeffington, became a Hollywood movie. Bette Davis was nominated for an Oscar for her role as the aging beauty Fanny Skeffington.

If you would like to hear more about Elizabeth’s remarkable literary life, biographer Joyce Morgan, author of The Countess from Kirribilli, would be happy to speak to your book group.

Contact her here