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Elizabeth Bowen

Elizabeth Bowen

By Heather Ingman



This study provides a concise, up to date critical account of Elizabeth Bowen's work, setting it in the turbulent historical, political and social contexts in which she lived and wrote. Heather Ingman discusses Bowen's ten novels as well as her numerous short stories, her essays, reviews, interviews and broadcasts in order to give readers an idea of the range and diversity of her work. Bowen is recognised as one of the foremost short story writers of the twentieth century. Recent scholarship has reshaped the way we view Bowen - taking her out of the previously confining categories of Big House novelist, middlebrow woman's novelist, heir to Bloomsbury etc., in order to portray the sheer diversity and unnerving perspicacity of her work. The focus of this study is on her Irish background as a guiding thread through interpretation of her work. It draws on recent research and linking these to the complexities of her Anglo-Irish identity. Feminist theories of female identity, writing and motherhood also feature. The consolidation of Bowen's reputation as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century has been achieved by scholars working in different fields and employing a variety of theoretical models. This study aims to capture the diversity of possible approaches to reading Bowen while also highlighting current gaps in our knowledge. Though the richness and complexity of Bowen's fiction make impossible any single ideological reading of her work, the Irish resonances in her work are pursued throughout the chapters. Bowen's novels included The Hotel (1927), The Last September (1929), Friends and Relations (1931), To the North (1932), The House in Paris (1935), The Death of the Heart (1938), The Heat of the Day (1949) A World of Love (1955), The Little Girls (1964) and her final novel, Eva Trout (1969). Her historical work included Bowen's Court (1942) and Seven Winters (1942).

ISBN: 9781913087371


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