Elizabeth Goudge

Elizabeth Goudge is a favorite author and someone who certainly belongs on a web site about Ageless Aging.

Here you will find information about the places where Goudge set her novels and short stories. There is a bibliography of her works and small details about her life. I have also installed a mechanism that allows you and other readers of this section of the Anti-Aging-Articles.com web site to write some personal stories about her or about your experience in reading her work.

I hope you find your stay here pleasant and that you will return to read the new articles and view new pictures as they are added.

Brief biography of Elizabeth Goudge

This popular British author was born in Wells, England on April 24, 1900. She was the first and only child Ida Collenette Goudge and Henry Leighton Goudge.

Of her childhood, Elizabeth wrote, "No child can have lived in lovelier homes than my first two homes, or in a more enchanted city than Wells at the beginning of the century." Her first two homes in Wells are called the Tower House and The Rib. The latter is just across the road from the Tower House.

Elizabeth Goudge set three of her novels in Wells:

  • City of Bells
  • Sister of the Angels and
  • Henrietta's House (published in the United States as, The Blue Hills)
In these novels Goudge calls the city Torminster - but clearly Torminster is a fictionalized Wells.

As a child Elizabeth's summers were spent on Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, with her maternal grandparents. In these years, Elizabeth's mother did not make the trip which was rather daunting in rough seas because her poor health. Still Elizabeth liked Guernsey and in her autobiography, Joy in the Snow, she speaks of the people, especially her Grandfather, with great affection.

In 1911 her father, Henry Leighton Goudge, was transferred from Wells to Ely in North Eastern England. Naturally the family moved with him to this Cathedral city on the hill amidst the fens. Elizabeth loved Ely and its Cathedral. The city became the setting for The Dean's Watch .

When her father was appointed Regius Professor at Christ Church in Oxford, Elizabeth was sorry to leave Ely. [ It should be noted that Henry Leighton Goudge was a scholar and his works on scripture are still sought by divinity students today].

Goudge, the writer

Elizabeth was always drawn to writing but her parents wanted to ensure the she had some marketable skills so she attended Reading University Art School for two years to study handicraft arts. She was not very good at drawing although some years later one of teacher's who read her work said that she put in words what the artist saw of nature.

Her first book, The Fairy Babies and Other Stories, was a dismal failure. Goudge abandoned writing for some years and earned income by teaching design and applied arts (weaving, leather work and embroidery) from home when she lived in Ely and in Oxford. She really did not become a full time writer until 1938 when Island Magic , a story woven out of some of the Guernsey tales her mother told, was published by Duckworth. This book opened a flood gate and many successful novels and short stories followed.

In 1944 she received the MGM Literary Award and the Literary Guild Award for Green Dolphin Country (published in the United States as Green Dolphin Street) and in 1947 she received the Carnegie Medal for The Little White Horse. (This book is the one which J.C. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, said was her favorite as a child.)

In Goudge's last years she edited a series of anthologies. These reveal the depth and breadth of her own reading and study. Her Joy of the Snow is an autobiography. It reveals some of the sources of her inspiration and work.

Her last work, A Diary of Prayer in its British edition is like a small prayer book that one might use each day. The Coward McCann edition is the size of a novel and to my thinking it loses some of the intimacy and meaning of the British publication.

Do enjoy your visit here. I plan to include additional pages about Goudge and her work - sort of a mini web site within the larger Anti-Aging-Articles site. But Goudge offers so many well drawn older characters and her stories are warm, engaging and meaningful.


There is now an Elizabeth Goudge archive so if you have letters or materials relevant to Goudge, there may be a way to have these preserved for future generations. I hope to be able to share more about this in the future.

go to: Elderhood pages

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