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THE PASTOR'S WIFE (illustrated) by [von Arnim, Elizabeth]
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THE PASTOR'S WIFE (illustrated) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Kindle Edition, 1 Feb 2014
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Length: 492 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product Description


Elizabeth von Arnim is a mistress of irony (Lisa St Aubin de Teran)

[von Arnim] was keenly aware of the powerlessness of an intelligent woman in a male-dominated world (Kate Saunders)

A particular kind of witty and well constructed fiction, a sort of sparkling Euclid, which nobody else can touch (Rebecca West)

Worldly, sharp, witty ... Try to write like that, and her gift will seem very enviable and elusive (Terence de Vere White)

Book Description

*A novel sparkling with von Arnim's characteristic wit and irony
*Exploits the theme of the bondage of women -- as daughters and wives
*With an Afterword by Lisa St Aubin de Teran

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1784 KB
  • Print Length: 492 pages
  • Publisher: Classic Fiction of Elizabeth von Arnim; first edition (1 Feb. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CG65I2Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,467 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When Ingeborg Bullivant, dutiful daughter of the overbearing Bishop of Redchester, finds herself surprisingly at liberty in London with seven guineas to spend after some dental work proves to be more straightforward than expected, an audacious idea enters her head: to spend the money on a 'Dent's Excursion' to the Continent. This act of rebellion proves to be straightforward enough to carry out - but turns out to have unforeseen consequences, with Ingeborg ending up the wife of a pastor in an isolated German village.
In this stunning novel, first published in 1914, Elizabeth von Arnim describes Ingeborg's adventures: her naive, optimistic and ever dutiful attempts to make a success of her new life and subsequent dramatic 'elopement' to Italy.
Like all von Arnim's novels, the strongest theme of the book is the helplessness of women in a world where men have the power, and it is this that gives the book its devastatingly macabre undertones, as we see the helpless Ingeborg attempting to make sense of situations she does not understand. Von Armin's view of human motivation is a distinctive one, strangely passive and yet wholly convincing, as we see how actions are governed by everything from religious belief to the euphoria at being finally free from the toothache.
It is this incongruity that provides some of the humour of the novel. But von Arnim's characters are also richly comic: the pompous pastor, obsessed with his scientific studies into manure and pigs, the affected, egotistical artist (reputedly partly based on von Arnim's lover H.G.Wells), and of course the villagers Ingeborg encounters.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every few months, I take a little holiday from everyday life and move to the nineteenth century, preferably to East Prussia, Pomerania, Italy or even Kent; with a favourite writer of mine, Elizabeth Von Arnim, who is the perfect antidote for twenty first century blues.

`The Pastor's Wife' republished by Virago, that sanest of presses. They even use a bolder than usual antique font to get you in the mood. Persephone Press are another champion of this wonderful lady.

Ingeborg (the splendid name I think comes from her Swedish grandmother) is our heroine of the day, and the story starts with her visit to a London dentist, "A celebrity in teeth". He does his stuff quicker than you'd have thought and so, having been given a ten-pound note by her father the Bishop, she is unexpectedly set free from her dutiful days. She seizes her chances with wholehearted gusto.

In no time Ingeborg has set off on Dent's Tour to Lucerne and there the trouble starts. A square German gentleman is sitting opposite her on the train and like Jemima Puddle duck's whiskery new friend, thinks to himself "Fattened up -yes, possibly, "Fattened up-yes, perhaps."

The prose, the particulars, the people, the pictures E von A summons up are a breath of fresh air. We are right inside the bubbly, buoyantly, best thinking brain of Ingebord and it is a lovely place to be.

Everything we read is recognisable, for human nature does not alter much in even a hundred years. And E von A is an expert in the subject of male/female behaviour. Hard times lie ahead for the brave little mousey haired person we take up with and we accompany her through them. Dark days are dismissed quite airily, babies are born and some die, one from 'falling from a punt'. No one dwells on these disasters.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Many readers will have heard of Von Arnim's "Elizabeth and her German Garden" but the rest of her books seem to have been forgotten. I am delighted with these Kindle illustrated editions and "The Pastor's Wife" is one of the best. It is fascinating to read this fresh and vivid depiction of a lost world where women had almost no value if they did not marry and produce endless babies. Elizabeth von Arnim has a unique view of the world and the relations between men and women. The heroine is maddening and naive yet strangely likeable and the combination of culture clash (she moves to East Prussia) and the usual sex and class wars lead to hilarious situation comedy. I learned a great deal of social history and although some of the plot stretched my credulity I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It is also very good value for money.
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I don't think I'd heard of Elizabeth von Arnim until I saw a favourable reference to her in a review of an Elizabeth Edmondson book. So I chose The Pastor's Wife because it sounded interesting. Yes, it's dated and wordy, but I was very taken by the light and airy style. And the start of Ingeborg's trip to Switzerland reminded me of organised rail and boat trips to Greece and Italy over fifty years ago.

After a holiday romance we return to the cathedral city and the Bishop's Palace, and to a world reminiscent of that portrayed by Trollope five decades earlier and Barbara Pym five decades later. It was interesting visiting the world of the Bishop and even more interesting being taken to the curious world of East Prussia, gone these seventy years.

And Ingeborg, the lead character, bishop's daughter and pastor's wife, transported to this strange society, finds that she has become a breeding machine. Finally she puts her foot down: enough is enough. The consequences are unhappy and the author becomes insightful. But relief is at hand, or at least some sort of relief, in the shape of the (rather odious) painter, Edward Ingram. This leads to yet more pages of wordy introspection. But we are relieved by a railway journey of some length and interest. It terminates in Italy and then the story comes to quite an exciting close.

This is not the sort of book I'd normally read, but I'm glad I did: a real period piece.
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