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"but shares with theirs a 20th century English Christian sensibility which is, to my mind, one of the great flowerings of Christian culture, and to me personally the most attractive of all...."


From the above insightful essay: “The world of the book is better than ours, and most of the people are better than we are. But this better is achieved not so much by eliminating evil and pain as by drawing out truth and goodness, showing us what the real relationship between good and evil is—that is, that goodness is overflowing richness and joy, while evil is paltry, empty, and dull.”

I found a reference to this creation of fictional worlds in Elizabeth Goudge’s autobiography, The Joy of the Snow: "In our hearts every one of us would like to create a new world, less terrible than this one, a world where there is at least a possibility that things may work out right. The greatest writers are able to do this. In The Lord of the Rings Professor Tolkien has created a world that is entirely new and if the book ends in haunting sadness Frodo and Sam do at least throw the ring in the fire; if it had been in this world that they embarked on their terrible journey they would have died half-way up the mountain. And so, even with lesser writers, a story is a groping attempt to make a new world, even if the attempt ends in nothing better than the rearrangement of the furniture."

Again, from the above essay: “...in both authors, love is a real thing, a sort of force or substance comparable to a physical force or substance. It is not an emotion—it produces emotion, but is not identical with it. It is the essential element of the world of the spirit and has its own laws of action and reaction just as the physical world does. A love which is not returned is not, as we might think of it, a useless fit of passion something like what happens when one stubs a toe on a rock and breaks out in useless curses. When someone loves, something has happened, an event, which, like a rock thrown into a pool, will have an effect. And this is true no matter how the love is received, or even if it is kept completely secret and leads to no external action. Love is God’s word, and it does not return to him in vain.”

I appreciate very deeply these insights, regardless of Goudge's writing. An incident in Goudge's novel Green Dolphin Street seems to bear out this truth. Two sisters are in love with the same man. Years later, from New Zealand, the young man (a sailor)writes the parents for permission to marry one of the sisters -- he gets the name wrong, and the sister he does not wish to marry makes the long journey to be his bride. Rather than competition, the novel lifts up the mutual supportiveness of the three characters: "A threefold cord shall not be broken." Many of Goudge's novels illustrate this interconnectedness. The Child from the Sea states that ". . . down below the surface where the tap roots are, humanity is of one stuff of love and sorrow."

Elizabeth Goudge ends her autobiography with a prayer by Thomas Traherne: "O God, who by love alone art great and glorious, that art present and livest with us by love alone: Grant us likewise by love to attain another self, by love to live in others, and by love to come to our glory, to see and accompany Thy love throughout all eternity."

...as readers can see, I obviously did not conclude the italicization tag after Joy of the Snow! Ah well!

Well, we can see whose friend Mary is.



A mutual affection for Goudge, and a mutual inability to use HTML correctly.


Thank you, Mary, for the compliment, and for the info about EG. Now I want to read that autobiography.

Italics fixed, too.

"...love is a real thing, a sort of force or substance comparable to a physical force or substance. It is not an emotion—it produces emotion, but is not identical with it."

This is wonderful. The whole passage is wonderful.

And Maclin, yours is really great, too. I'm enjoying re-reading all this.


I read several books by Elizabeth Goudge when I was at school but I never seem to have read the same ones that you write about. I just read the ones which were in the school library

I've read The Dean's Watch and *I think* A City of Bells. I read them at school. I think there were more but those are the titles I remember

I'm a little confused by your comment, Janet. The "love is a real thing" bit is me, but then you say to me "yours is really great, too"...? But however you slice it, it's a compliment, so thank you.

I've read only two other books by Goudge, The Heart of the Family and The Scent of Water. Looks like I never did a blog post about the latter, even though it might be my favorite. But I did a brief one about the former. It doesn't really say anything that the longer pieces didn't.

Oh, I was getting that out of Mary's comment and it was late and I was confused. Well, it is completely wonderful.

Scent of Water is definitely my favorite.


My favorite is The Dean's Watch.

It's funny. I kind of forget that whole series.


The City of Bells (set in Ely), Towers in the Mist (set in Elizabethan Oxford), and The Dean's Watch (Ely)are bound together in a Coronet edition, 1986, as The Cathedral Trilogy.

Towers in The Mist I have read and enjoyed it a lot

I always conflate City of Bells and The Dean's Watch, and I can't remember Towers in the Mist at all, although I know I must have read it.


I need to read some of these others. And by the way does anyone know how to pronounce "Damerosehay"?

The $64K Question. I can't even figure out a way to pronounce it in my head that makes me be able to read a sentence with the word in it without coming to a pause. I never get used to it. It's an awkward word. I think I listened to one of the books on tape once and they pronounced it like pronouncing those 3 words, but I don't remember for sure.


Several people are asking this question on the web. They all come back to this site. http://www.elizabethgoudge.org/Postings/Percieived%20Pronunciation.htm



Sounds good to me. "dame rose hay" doesn't exactly flow, and it seems likely that its edges would have been worn away considerably.

Oh, I had missed Janet's link--I didn't realize it was completely fictitious. I figured it was one of those English names that have been around for centuries.

That was just my attempt to represent what I took Janet's link to be saying, without resorting to phonetic symbols. It drops the h of hay, but I can't find a natural way of enunciating that without putting the stress on the final syllable.

"rosé" helps a lot--a smooth two-syllable word, rather than two. Do you mean you put the stress on the "é" -- "dumrosAY"? (sorry, I don't know phonetic symbols). I find that "DUMrosay"seems equally natural, maybe more so. Or "DAMrosay". "DAYMrosay" doesn't go so well.

I did not remember the title 'Towers in the Mist' but I remembered that I had read another one by Elizabeth Goudge which is set in Elizabethan times, so I checked and it is that one. These books stay in one's memory for ever.

I like Paul's suggestion. If I ever read it, that's how I'll pronounce it.

From The Joy of the Snow, page 180: "One such place [in some ways magical] was Lymington, a favourite place for a school outing. It was a little port always humming with activity about the harbour, but the streets of old houses that climbed above the harbour were, as I remember them, quiet streets. There was little life in them but it did not seem to have changed much since the days when aristocratic refugees from the French Revolution made their home there . . . Damerosehay. That was the name I gave to the house where the Eliots lived in the three novels I wrote about them; but in reality it was the name of a field near the saltmarshes that separate Lymington from Keyhaven. It is only my fancy that it was named after some lovely French lady who wore powdered hair in the evening and patches on her face. Madame . . . ? What French name could have sounded to English ears like Rosehay?"

I need to correct an earlier posting I made: I said, "The City of Bells (set in Ely), Towers in the Mist (set in Elizabethan Oxford), and The Dean's Watch (Ely)are bound together in a Coronet edition, 1986, as The Cathedral Trilogy." WRONG. The City of Bells in set in Wells.

The French connection lends support to "rosé". Why did she never pronounce it to any of her friends?!?

"patches on her face"? I wonder what fashion that refers to.

I'm going to order Joy of the Snow shortly. I see there are a number of inexpensive secondhand copies available.

I'm sure you must have seen movies about 18th century France where all the rich people wear white face powder and little patches like fake moles on their faces. Didn't you watch John Adams?


Like this.



Maybe for flow it could be pronounced Dam-er-ose-hay, with four syllables. That would remove the abrupt break between "dame" and "rose". Sort of like some New Englanders do with "idea-r".

I think it's the "h" immediately after the "s" that bothers me. Dam-er-ose-ay would be ok (not that I get to decide...well, actually, I guess I do, as far as my own reading is concerned).

Those patches look like somebody took a marker to the portrait. But yeah, now that you mention it I have seen them.

Footnote 1 on page 300 of Old times re-visited in the borough and parish of Lymington (published 1900) gives an etymology, at least, but not much of a clue as to how locals might pronounce it:

"The termination hay means meadow. The former part of the word no doubt refers to some distinct flower growing there, just as we might now say Cowslip Mead &c. The Dame-rose I take to be the Primrose, ... or Our Lady's Rose, in contrast to the real rose ..."

The association with Our Lady makes the name much richer.

I had been toying with ignoring the second "e" and saying "Dam-ro-shay" but I guess that doesn't work, since the word "hay" is involved.

Evidently, yes, it WAS only Goudge's "fancy" that the field was named after a French refugee. Fantastic research!

Below is a final reference to Damerosehay from Joy of the Snow. I am perhaps typing out too much text -- if so, I am trusting that our blog host will delete the excess (pages 284-286):
I went to Damerosehay. It was a lovely summer and the old house and the garden, the sea and the marshes were shining in the sun and there was healing in the air of the place. One day, I remember, I was sitting under one of the trees in the garden and the wind from the sea was blowing through the leaves. A moment of joy seized me, so sudden and so startling that I could hardly believe it. Yet it was true. Into the middle of my wretchedness at this time dropped this sudden joy. . . . [joy] lies, somehow, at the root of every pain.
There was a shadow of sadness over Damerosehay and I was aware of it. The house had, I think, been used for refugees during the war but Mrs Adams had brought it back to its former use as a quiet hotel for her friends and their friends . . . The house was shabby and the garden overgrown. It made no difference to the peace of the place but there was sadness now as well as peace . . . We who were staying there had no idea at all that in a few years time Damerosehay would have vanished as though it had never been.. . . For whatever reason, the shell of Damerosehay failed to attract holiday-makers and the hotel failed. . . [B]ungaloes and caravans began to eat their way over the beauty of the marshes and it was decided that the old house must go. . . . The house was so filled with old wood that the destroyers thought that burning would get rid of it more quickly than any other method. But even though its spirit had departed, the body of the house still had a will to live. The wooden bones would not ignite and the flames could not take hold. The destroyers gave up in despair and fetched the bulldozers. The house and garden of Damerosehay could not stand up against those and now I believe (I will never go to see) that no one can find the place where they once had their life. Well, they had it, and one of the things in my working life about which I am most thankful is that someone or something prompted me to write three books about an imaginary family living at Damerosehay, and that those three seem to be my readers' favourites. As long as the three books are read Damerosehay has not quite vanished from the world and I have not lived in vain.

"too much text"?!? Hardly! That's beautiful and a bit tear-jerking. Thank you for going to all that trouble.

Thank you for the blog.

You're welcome.

I was planning on rereading Green Dolphin Country before travelling to New Zealand this summer. The rate things are going I'll have to read it there.

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