by Elizabeth von Arnim

Attending a London production of The Immortal Hour, Catherine, a widow in her forties, encounters the handsome young Christopher, and their unlikely romance scandalizes their friends and families.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Classics
  • Rating: 3.78
  • Publish Date: April 1st 1990 by Penguin Books
  • Isbn10: 014016202X
  • Isbn13: 9780140162028

Read the Book "Love" Online

I remember, many years ago, falling in love with Elizabeth Von Arnims writing as I read every one of her books that Virago republished. This is the story of a romance between a young man and a somewhat older lady, and I on the second time of reading my love for the story grew and grew. He comes to realise that there is a lady who must love the play as much as he does, because he sees her there often; and one day, when they are sitting on the same row, Christopher broaches a conversation. The lady is charmed, and the pair talk about the play and about many other things, but Christopher finds that she is reticent when it comes to talking about herself. When Christopher came into her life, Catherine was flattered by his attentions, and she began to think that maybe she wouldnt be a widow for the rest of her life. They were too polite to say so, but their behaviour made their feelings clear, and Katherine was appalled to find herself considered of an age with Stephens mother when she was in fact a little younger than Stephen. Katherine was delighted, her family were scandalised, and the trip back to London put the relationship between the pair onto a new footing. There would be drama in London as Katherine tried to keep up with her young husband and to be the kind of wife she thought he would want; and there would be drama in the country when the time came for Virginias first child to be born.

Hypocrisy, society's norms, the lengths on trying to obtain youth, marriage and family relationships are all here, not in a light lovely dovey way but a hard look at life in all its views. Even though I have only seen Bette Davis in "Mrs. Skeffington", and when I saw that movie I had no idea who Elizabeth von Arnim was; and loved the movie. Yes, I have that book on my list to read and comparing the novel to the movie will be fun to do; "Love" reminds me of "Mrs. Skeffington"and even though they are quite different, they have a similar desire to be youthful. I loved Catherine in "Love" and it will be interesting to see what I think of "Mrs. Skeffington" after I read it and seeing how it differs from Bette Davis quite unlikable character. I had many thoughts on Christopher and other characters and my feelings changed as the story proceeded. Trying to find "the fountain of youth" and what lengths on must go is here in all its ugliness which a section of this story, Elizabeth took from her cousin, Katherine Mansfield's experience.

Del resto anche Virginia, la figlia diciannovenne di Catherine, è sposata con un uomo molto più anziano di lei, coetaneo della madre e che ha addirittura un aspetto decrepito, perlomeno agli occhi di Christopher. È per questo motivo che Catherine cerca di svincolarsi dall'opprimente amore di Christopher, cerca in tutti i modi di sfuggirgli, e si convince lei stessa di non esserne innamorata. Non è molto chiaro, nel corso del romanzo, anche se il mio parere è che lei non sia tanto innamorata di lui, quanto di quello che lui offre alla sua vanità, cioè la possibilità di sentirsi più giovane. L'idea, dunque, che i due possano unirsi in matrimonio, è del tutto ridicola agli occhi di chiunque, Catherine per prima, mentre per Christopher non rappresenta il minimo problema dato che lei ha un aspetto così giovanile. Tuttavia, quando si inizia a far notare che Virginia e suo marito Stephen hanno una differenza d'età ancora maggiore, questo suscita scandalo, perché non è la stessa cosa. Naturalmente, come potrebbe, lui è un uomo che si prende cura di una giovane creatura indifesa, mentre nel caso di Catherine e Christopher è una cosa del tutto immorale. Le tinte pastello sono evidentissime, nel corso di quasi tutto il libro siamo di fronte a un vero e proprio romanzo d'amore, come del resto dice il titolo.

I just read the 1925 hardback 1st edition of Love, by Elizabeth Von Arnim, that I found in a box of books from my grandparents house. The mother (Catherine), at 47, marries a man (Christopher) who is only 6 years older than her daughter. The immediate family is scandalized, but nobody who doesnt know their ages bats an eye because Catherine looks so young. However, this love story is different in an important way: Catherine and Christopher get married in the middle of the booknot the end. An example of these wonderful narrative voices, and especially Christophers, is at the point when Christopher has made his grand gesture: he shows up at Virginias house, where Catherine has gone to run away from him, and finds her with Mrs. Colguhoun, Virginias proper and stuffy mother-in-law. She is a slave to societys expectation for how a 47-year-old widow ought to behave, and Christopher, through his youthful, boyish love, liberates her. It is ironic, then, when at the end of the novel, she is the one who has freed herself from her dependence on beauty aids to keep her appearance young, and it is Christopher who finds himself enslaved in his (and societys) expectations of what his wife should look like.

Christopher is pretty much immediately smitten, Catherine aware of his interest is flattered.

Per ora il migliore della Von Arnim che mi sia capitato tra le mani.

I wouldn't recommend it if you can't handle the slower, delicately crafted type of book.

Definitely one of my favourite novels of all time.

Elizabeth Von Arnims heroine in Love was too conventional to think of herself as retaining any qualities that might attract a man. Her not yet out of her teens daughter has been swept up by the longtime family minister and in their marriage Catherine has been pushed from being the lady of the manor to a barely getting by gentile lady of a certain age, surviving on a fixed and limiting income in a prepaid modest city apartment. Being a young man, if older than Catherines daughter he is represented as all energy and action. What Author Von Arnim accomplishes is a novel focused on Catherines thoughts and emotions.

Elizabeth, Countess Russell, was a British novelist and, through marriage, a member of the German nobility, known as Mary Annette Gräfin von Arnim. Count von Arnim died in 1910, and in 1916 Elizabeth married John Francis Stanley Russell, 2nd Earl Russell, Bertrand Russell's elder brother. The marriage ended in disaster, with Elizabeth escaping to the United States and the couple finally agreeing, in 1919, to get a divorce.