Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Elizabeth von Arnim

When I finished reading E. Phillips Oppenheim's first two novels, I began reading his memoir, The Pool of Memory, and what is considered his most successful novel, The Great Impersonation. In many ways, that novel might be a redo of his first novel, Expiation.

Oppenheim is quite the name dropper in his memoir; some of the names I recognize, some I don't. One writer that Oppenheim mentions frequently is Elizabeth von Arnim, who he refers to as Countess Elizabeth Russell.

After finishing my 4th Oppenheim book, I began reading Arnim's "most critically acclaimed work", Vera a "black comedy based on her disastrous second marriage to Earl Russell: a mordant analysis of the romantic delusions through which wives acquiesce in husbands' tyrannies".

Oddly enough, the main male character in Vera is named Everard, which is also the name of the leading male charter in Oppenheim's The Great Impersonation. Coincidence? Who knows?

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