Father and Son: A Study of Two Temperaments

Father and Son A Study of Two Temperaments At birth Edmund Gosse was dedicated to the Service of the Lord His parents were Plymouth Brethren After his mother s death Gosse was brought up in stifling isolation by his father a marine biologist

  • Title: Father and Son: A Study of Two Temperaments
  • Author: Edmund Gosse Peter Abbs
  • ISBN: 9780140182767
  • Page: 287
  • Format: Paperback
  • At birth Edmund Gosse was dedicated to the Service of the Lord His parents were Plymouth Brethren After his mother s death Gosse was brought up in stifling isolation by his father, a marine biologist whose faith overcame his reason when confronted by Darwin s theory of evolution Father and Son is also the record of Gosse s struggle to fashion his inner life for himseAt birth Edmund Gosse was dedicated to the Service of the Lord His parents were Plymouth Brethren After his mother s death Gosse was brought up in stifling isolation by his father, a marine biologist whose faith overcame his reason when confronted by Darwin s theory of evolution Father and Son is also the record of Gosse s struggle to fashion his inner life for himself a record of whose full and subversive implications the author was unaware, as Peter Abbs notes in his Introduction First published anonymously in 1907, Father and Son was immediately acclaimed for its courage in flouting the conventions of Victorian autobiography and is still a moving account of self discovery.

    One thought on “Father and Son: A Study of Two Temperaments”

    1. I was recommended to read this along with The Way of All Flesh by a history teacher back at school(view spoiler)[ my gratitude is tempered by the fact that he dissuaded me from studying archaeology, though in the context of those days, and perhaps still now when it seems at times that we are rushing back towards the Victorian era, I would be wise to be grateful for that too (hide spoiler)], both are intrinsically Victorian books, with family and the Patriarch in the centre by the right hand side [...]

    2. This book was right up my alley in that my upbringing paralleled the author's - in spite of being over a century later. Like him, I was brought up in the Plymouth Brethren which, in 1960s-70s New Zealand, as in 1850s-60s England, meant a fixation on literalism, a consequent dryness and lack of imagination, and an almost disdainful rejection of "the world," which to a kid in particular was a blanket term for "everything fun." Seeing this aspect of my childhood before me in a form as dispassionate [...]

    3. (4.5) I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to get to this splendid evocation of 1850s–60s family life in an extreme religious sect. I’d known about Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son (1907) for ages, and even owned a copy. Two of its early incidents – the son’s anticlimactic birth announcement in the father’s diary, and the throwing out of a forbidden Christmas pudding – were famously appropriated by Peter Carey for creating Oscar’s backstory in his Booker Prize-winning novel Os [...]

    4. While literary eggheads like to debate whether the writer, the son in the title, Edmund, is being fair to his father, Philip, or not, the reality is that, for good or ill, our parents have a profound effect on is. It lasts a lifetime, even if we are not always conscious of it.This is the son’s account, during the Victorian Era, of his parents and the life he had with his father after his mother died. He makes it clear he is not trying to write a biography. These are his impressions and memorie [...]

    5. Another book I discovered through listening to the wonderful Backlisted podcast. Sir Edmund Gosse CB (21 September 1849 – 16 May 1928) was an English poet, author and critic. He was strictly brought up in a small Protestant sect, the Plymouth Brethren, but broke away sharply from that faith. 'Father and Son' is his account of his childhood and his gradual questioning of the fundamentalist religion of his parents. All of which might make this book sound like a misery memoir, and yet nothing cou [...]

    6. And he said we must judge not, lest we ourselves bejudged. I had just enough tact to let that pass, but I was quite aware that our whole system was one of judging, and that we had no intention whatever of being judged ourselves. Yet even at the age of eleven one sees that on certain occasions to press home the truth is not convenient.The dripping sarcasm of the line above is an apt characterization of this delightful memoir of the relationship between poet Edmund Gosse and his father Philip. Alt [...]

    7. One of the best books about intellectual freedom that I have ever read. Gosse manages to make his father a deeply sympathetic and tragically sad character (and himself a real, selfish, immature boy) while clearly showing how oppressive and ridiculous puritanism can be. When young Edmund discovers Dickens and Shakespeare it's like coming up for air after deep submersion.

    8. Edited by Peter AbbsGosse's Life and Works and ChronologyIntroductionFATHER AND SONNotesSelect BibliographyPublished 1907Father = Philip Gosse, Marine Zoologist and Plymouth Brother. If he was living today we'd probably label him a Christian Fundamentalist (and even a child abuser). Edmund Gosse, an only child, was brought up in an erstwhile loving home whilst required to wear a religious straitjacket and undergo constant 'spiritual' interrogation. That he remained sane, managed to “escape” [...]

    9. I don't know if I liked this book so much because it is good or simply because its theme is of such importance to me. Edmund Gosse writes about his upbringing in a deeply religious home, and the consequences it has for the relationship he has with his father. It is a powerful and sad exploration of a desolate childhood, limited by unbearable constraints and expectations in the name of the Holy. It is impossible for me to talk about this book without trailing off with my own thoughts on faith and [...]

    10. From BBC Radio 4 - Extra Debut:Memoir of Edmund Gosse's Victorian childhood, raised in a strictly non-conformist Plymouth Brethren home. Stars Derek Jacobi and Roger Allam.Free download available at Project Gutenberg.I liked this book even if I am not a big fan of christian fiction.

    11. Published anonymously in 1907, when Gosse was 58, "Father and Son" recounts his childhood among the Plymouth Brethren, centering largely, after his mother's early death, on his relation with pere Philip Henry Gosse, English naturalist and author of "Omphalos: an Attempt to Untie the Geological Knot," in which is formulated what has come to be known as the 'omphalos hypothesis,' reconciling the fossil record to revelation by supposing it too to having been created ex nihilo. (Though it should be [...]

    12. When I was offered the Opportunity to go to Adelaide University to study Two Subjects in the Arts ofMy Own Choice, I should have JUMPED at it; but unfortunately, as far as I was concerned, it meantNOT doing my Second Year of Philosophy, a subject I was absolutely WRAPPED IN. I mentioned My Dilemma in a letter to my Auntie Rosie. She settled it with her: "Whenever Opportunity knocks, TAKE IT!!!" I didn't know then that she had made a decision between marrying her current Sydney Beau and a Man-On- [...]

    13. This book has been described as the first psychological biography. An only child, Gosse is raised in a Protestant sect, The Plymouth Bretheren, which is led by his father, a naturalist and artist. While strict, his parents dote on him, but from early on he questions their beliefs. I loved the scene when he's seven or so, after hearing the prohibition against praying to idols, he secretly puts a chair on a table and prays to it. And nothing happens. His mother, a poet, dies before he is ten. When [...]

    14. I loved this memoir, written by the son, who grew up in Devonshire in the latter half of the 19th century. He loved his father, a scientist who was also something of a religious fanatic, a member of the Calvinistic Plymouth Brethren. By the time he was 19, the son was through with religion, but remained on affectionate terms with his narrow-minded dad. He tells their story with honesty and humor.

    15. Families, eh. What binds, and what divides. This is a wonderful account of the author as a solitary child, cut off from reality by a strict religion. But what makes it so enthralling for me is the picture he paints of how an intelligent child can for so long squeeze himself into the mould his parents make. It's not at all a stuffy classic, but an absolute must-read.

    16. Edmund Gosse's father was a self-taught marine biologist and his mother, a poet and illustrator, but the center of their lives was their fundamentalist faith. They were Plymouth Brethren and were devoted to this fundamentalist Christian sect. Edmund was their only child and this is how he describes their life together: "For over three years after their marriage, neither of my parents left London for a single day, not being able to afford to travel. They received scarcely any visitors, never ate [...]

    17. *I got turned on to this book when I found it on one of Nick Hornby's list of faves*The book fails to achieve what it hoped to: to find the seeds of Gosse's later rebellion in his early youth. We spend about two-thirds of the book there, looking. Gosse keeps plodding on, expecting to find the answer himself. But we don't. We also don't get a convincing portrait of the father. How did he come to Botany, what teacher led him to that worldly path, what was the joy he found there? Gosse sr. came fro [...]

    18. A non-fiction account of Edmund Gosse's relationship with his father. Everything in Mr. Gosses's upbringing was focused on piety and service to God. As the story unfolds the young Edmund slowly begins to understand that there is more to life that worship, and that his father is not infallible. I found the section dealing with Mr. Gosse's senior addressing Charles Darwin's theories to be particularly interesting, as I have been slowly reading through The Origin of the Species concurrently to this [...]

    19. This book was fantastic and it really hit that this occurs still to this day in homes all across the world. Unfortunately religious indoctrination is a powerful force that many don't overcome like Gosse did. When someone does it often tears families apart. I also feel sad for both Gosse and his father, the younger eventually was able to think for himself and escape, the elder however remained stuck in religion even at the expense of his career. A naturalist who could not accept Darwin and Lyell. [...]

    20. Edmund Gosse's fluent writing tells this story ("Father and Son") of a father who loves his son, but harrasses and abuses his mental independence through thepursuit of "fundamental" Christianity. The book might have been toodark and sombre to tackle without the mixture of ordinary life andordinary kindness that runs through it. It has been criticised in itstime for exaggeration, even a twisting of the truth about the father,but it seems to me to be very believable -and it has been rated asa mast [...]

    21. Sad, yet often very (laugh out loud) funny. A fascinating picture of Victorian Evangelical religion, that makes you ask whether modern forms of Christian believing can lead to similar inter-generational tensions. And a thought-provoking description of how inevitable rebellion against our parent(s) can still walk hand in hand with lifelong love and respect for them.

    22. Excellent! This coming of age story under the watchful eye of a strict religious upbringing still holds up today. The author's humor and sensitivity with which he retells his parent's overbearing religious fervor and what it did to a young child's psyche, engrosses the reader. Highly recommended.

    23. Beautifully written, and a wonderful document about the late nineteenth century clash between 'religion' and 'science.' Also, Gosse goes out of his way to present his father as a decent human being, not something that can be said about the other books in this tradition.

    24. If you've ever been interested in losing your religious faith, this is the book to read. The best argument against religious fanaticism that I've come across.

    25. Well written in the Victorian manner, and a fascinating double portrait of Gosse and his Puritan scientist father.

    26. NRC recensie: Willem Otterspeer 9 april 1993 Stel, je vader zegt tegen je: “Wat je ook nodig hebt, zeg het Hem en Hij zal het je geven, als het Zijn wil is.” Uitstekend, denk je. Ik heb een grote gekleurde bromtol nodig. De volgende dag er naar behoren om gesmeekt, zorgvuldig eraan toevoegend "als het Uw wil is'. Blijkt dat je eigenlijk alleen mag bidden voor de bekering van de heidenen of de teruggave van Jeruzalem aan de joden.Nog zo'n misverstand. Je wil naar een feestje, maar het gezin w [...]

    27. Read for the second time, aged 61. I first read Father and Son when I was 17 or 18 and just emerging from a Plymouth Brethren upbringing. My parents could not fail to be influenced by something of the 1950s and 1960s, but nevertheless seemed archaic in their own way just as the elder Gosse had a century earlier. A book rich with comedy as well as love, regret and bewilderment.

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