Monthly Archives: October 2010

Elizabeth Goudge, The Joy of the Snow


This autobiography describes the author’s Edwardian childhood in Wells and Ely (with summer holidays on her mother’s native Guernsey) and adult life in Oxford and Devon before her eventual return to Oxfordshire.

It is also in part a spiritual autobiography. Goudge’s spirituality is rooted not so much in church liturgy (as the daughter of a priest and theologian she was exposed to much of this) but in religious texts both biblical and non-biblical, and in encounters with the natural world and with people around her. She also devotes a chapter to paranormal events experienced by herself, her family and friends.

A third strand is reflections on her development as a writer, and the inspirations for some of her books are described. It is not necessary to know the books to appreciate the autobiography, but a reader who is not sympathetic to the spiritual elements might find it hard going.

She was a favourite writer of mine when I was a teenager and I had a further personal interest, as several of the places in which she lived are well known to me (though in some cases minus the theological colleges which provided her accommodation). An interesting coincidence was that I marked my place with a souvenir bookmark from Buckler’s Hard, not realising it was a favourite place of hers (though not mentioned directly in the book).

  • ISBN 0 350 19915 6 (but currently believed to be out of print)
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