The Camomile

Cover of book The Camomile
The Camomile
Catherine Macfarlane Carswell
Categories: Fiction » Children

Of my writing he said, 'I see. It is like the camomile - the more it is trodden on the faster it grows.' Ellen Carstairs is born to write. Orphaned at an early age, she and her brother are brought up


in her aunt's evangelical and 'douce' Glasgow household at the turn of the century. Written in epistolary form, The Camomile, a semi-autobiographical novel, was first published in 1922. It records the mind of the aspiring female artist who struggles to carve out writing space when pressure is laid on her enlightened self to bow to more acceptable ideological patterns. Encouraged by the erudite and esoteric 'Don John', and also by her eccentric friend and English teacher, Ellen begins to break into the world of print. On becoming engaged however to a young doctor whose 'shoulders blot out the rest of the world', Ellen discovers that her fascination with the creative life is incompatible with the conventional trajectory mapped out for her. 'In how much am I to be myself, in how much assume a role laid down by him?' she questions. The answer comes to her as she is on the brink of marriage. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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