This is one of the most personal of biographies I have ever read. It was first published in 1907. It is also of its time a masterful document of religious thinking of the Non-conformist , puritan groups in England in the period from fifty years before. It is much more besides - a brilliant set of memories of early childhood and the way of thinking as a child. The stories of the relationships between each of his parents - the naturalist, non-conformist minister father, his incredible , stoic mother who died when he was only seven and the son himself in turn with them are breathtakingly told. The characters of his father and mother are wonderfully and tenderly observed. The writing is crytsal-like about religious feelings and the philosophy of the family members .
There is amazing material in this short memoir - ( It is a strong social history I wish I had read it when doing 19th British History) - highlighting the dilemma of the Creatonists with the new Lyell/Darwinian Natural Selectionists and their dramatic findings. Chapter five where the author Edmund Gosse described the almost personal destruction of his Scientist/Bible believing father when his compromising published work fails to gain the kudos he had hoped from his fellow scientists at the Royal Academy is perfectly realised and written.
Having said all of the above this memoir is also delightfully humorous at times and is so inciteful about the country folk in Devon where his father takes the young Gosse to live after the death of the beloved wife and mother. - to be near the sea where they can collect sea shore specimens. The chapel people here are wonderful.
If you have half an interest in the way our ideas have been formed over the last 150 years please read this superbly written shortish memoir and then please discuss.