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 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.
Edmund Gosse wrote of his account of his life, "This book is the record of a struggle between two temperaments, two consciences and almost two epochs." Father and Son remains one of English literature's seminal autobiographies. In it, Edmund Gosse recounts, with humor and pathos, his childhood as a member of a Victorian Protestant sect and his struggles to forge his own identity despite the loving control of his father. His work is a key document of the crisis of faith and doubt and a penetrating exploration of the impact of evolutionary science. An astute, well-observed, and moving portrait of the tensions of family life, Father and Son remains a classic of twentieth-century literature.