07 December 2017

Review: Father and Son by Edmund Gosse

Mass market paperback, 270 pages
Published 1986 (originally 1907)
Acquired June 2010
Read January 2013
Father and Son: A Study of Two Temperaments
by Edmund Gosse

Not a Victorian scientist novel... but a novel about a Victorian scientist. Well, a memoir told novelistically at any rate. You may know Edmund Gosse's father as Philip Henry Gosse, the man who did not say that God put the fossils there to test our faith, but whom everyone thought said that. Father and Son is a great read, but it had less to say about science and seeing scientifically than I had expected. If anything makes Philip Gosse a terrible dad (and he sure is, at least as Edmund tells it) it was his religious piety, which Edmund said left only "what is harsh and void and negative" (248). Philip was a self-denying emotionless man, but because he thought that was spiritually correct, not because of scientific training. A far cry from the mix of Christianity and science employed by Philip's friend Charles Kingsley.

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