The book describes Edmund’s early years in an exceptionally devout Plymouth Brethren home. His mother, who dies early and painfully of breast cancer, is a writer of Christian tracts. His father, Philip Henry Gosse, is an influential, though largely self-taught, invertebrate zoologist and student of marine biology who, after his wife’s death, takes Edmund to live in Devon. The book focuses on the father’s response to the new evolutionary theories, especially those of his scientific colleague Charles Darwin, and Edmund’s gradual rejection of both his father and his father’s fundamentalist religion. (Summary from Wikipedia)
marriage, he bought a little estate in North Wales, on the slopes of Snowdon. Here he seems to have lived in a pretentious way, keeping a pack of hounds and entertaining on an extravagant scale. He had a wife who encouraged him in this vivid life, and three children, my Mother and her two brothers. His best trait was his devotion to the education of his children, in which he proclaimed himself a disciple of Rousseau. But he can hardly have followed the teaching of 'Emile' very closely, since he employed tutors to teach his daughter, at an extremely early age, the very subjects which Rousseau forbade, such as history, literature and foreign languages.
My Mother was his special favourite, and his vanity did its best to make a bluestocking of her. She read Greek, Latin and even a little Hebrew, and, what was more important, her mind was trained to be self-supporting. But she was diametrically opposed in essential matters to her easy-going, luxurious and self-indulgent parents. Reviewing her life in her thirti
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