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4 March 1982
The Collected Stories of Elizabeth​ Bowen 
introduced by Angus Wilson.
Cape, 782 pp., £8.50, February 1981, 0 224 01838 8
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Elizabeth BowenAn Estimation 
by Hermione Lee.
Vision, 225 pp., £12.95, July 1981, 9780854783441
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... If there ever was a writer of genius, or neargenius – time will decide – who was heart-cloven and split-minded it is ElizabethBowen. Romantic-realist, yearning-sceptic, emotional-intellectual, poetic-pragmatist, objective-subjective, gregarious-detached (though everybody who resides in a typewriter has to be a bit of that), tragi ...
6 July 1995
Elizabeth Bowen​ and the Dissolution of the Novel 
by Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle.
Macmillan, 208 pp., £35, December 1994, 0 333 60760 0
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... practised by novelists like Hemingway or Anthony Powell, both of whom significantly reverted, in their later work, to the older authorial convention of a time-free consciousness. As a pre-war writer ElizabethBowen made gestures towards the Modern but preferred her own pattern of individualities. She was not much of a theorist, though she liked to advance her ideas on fiction boldly and with a certain ...

Written out of Revenge

Rosemary Hill: Bowen​ in Love

9 April 2009
Love’s Civil War: Elizabeth Bowen​ & Charles Ritchie Letters and Diaries 1941-73 
edited by Victoria Glendinning, by Judith Robertson.
Simon and Schuster, 489 pp., £14.99, February 2009, 978 1 84737 213 0
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People, Places, Things: Essays by Elizabeth​ Bowen 
edited by Allan Hepburn.
Edinburgh, 467 pp., £60, November 2008, 978 0 7486 3568 9
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... Civil war is an unpleasant business and the story that unfolds in the letters and diaries of ElizabethBowen and Charles Ritchie, the Canadian diplomat with whom she was in love for more than thirty years, is not a happy one. This was not so much what the publishers are pleased to call on the dust jacket ...
24 April 1997
... It is here that the idea of poetry, the poetry of the short story, does give the necessary clue: and yet it must be obtained without any suggestion of the poetic, which is what Pritchett contrived. ElizabethBowen sometimes obtained the same sort of effect by different means. In one of her stories a married woman and a younger man, who know in their heart of hearts that their affair will soon break up ...
18 November 1993
Paddy and Mr Punch: Connections in Irish and English History 
by R.F. Foster.
Allen Lane, 305 pp., £22.50, October 1993, 0 7139 9095 3
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... notably individuals such as Parnell and Lord Randolph Churchill (about whom he has already written books) and Yeats (he is writing the authorised biography). Other figures to appear are Trollope and ElizabethBowen and Maud Gonne. It is clear that Foster is more interested in posh Protestants than in the members of the Short Strand Martyrs Memorial Flute Band or their like. It is also clear that he does ...
27 October 1988
Nothing to Forgive: A Daughter’s Life of Antonia White 
by Lyndall Hopkinson.
Chatto, 376 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 0 7011 2969 7
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... years ago aged 81. In the past three years, two biographies or memoirs of her have been published, each by one of her two daughters. She is best known for her convent school novel Frost in May, which ElizabethBowen admired for being both a ‘minor classic’ and a ‘work of art’. It was published in 1933; by 1954 its author was complaining that it hung ‘round my neck like a withered wreath’. She ...

Pushkin’s Pupil

Christopher Driver

1 April 1983
by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 191 pp., £6.95, February 1983, 0 575 03247 2
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... Not since Arnold Bennett, ElizabethBowen and Vicki Baum can a novelist have looked so readily for resonance in the name and function of hotels. After his world-beating Freudian serve with The White Hotel here is D.M. Thomas again, standing ...

Hats One Dreamed about

Tessa Hadley: Rereading Bowen

9 February 2020
Collected Stories 
by Elizabeth Bowen.
Everyman, 904 pp., £18.99, October 2019, 978 1 84159 392 0
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... my reading life, aged 12 or 13, I promoted myself to the adult section of my local library, climbing up three wide steps covered in yellow linoleum. There, not knowing how to choose, I gravitated to ElizabethBowen – along with others, including Compton Mackenzie and Hugh Walpole, of whose writing I can’t now recall even the faintest flavour. I’d never heard of any of them – I’d not heard of ...

Lincoln, Illinois

William Fiennes

6 March 1997
All the Days and Nights: The Collected Stories 
by William Maxwell.
Harvill, 415 pp., £10.99, January 1997, 1 86046 308 8
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So Long, See You Tomorrow 
by William Maxwell.
Harvill, 135 pp., £8.99, January 1997, 9781860463075
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... the funeral train of Abraham Lincoln halted briefly at sunrise on 3 May 1865.’ Maxwell undoubtedly has insider status. The cover of the American paperback of The Chateau reproduces the praise of ElizabethBowen; the novel’s epigraph is taken from ElizabethBowen; it is dedicated to an ‘E.B.’ This new edition of All the Days and Nights quotes the praise of Eudora Welty, to whom one of the stories ...
23 June 1994
Sean O’Faolain: A Life 
by Maurice Harmon.
Constable, 326 pp., £16.95, May 1994, 0 09 470140 7
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Vive Moi! An Autobiography 
by Sean O’Faolain.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 377 pp., £20, November 1993, 1 85619 376 4
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... motivated at least in part by an ersatz Brahmin disdain for the great unwashed. The marital infidelities unveiled in the posthumous edition of Vive Moi! – long-running affairs with the writers ElizabethBowen and Honor Tracy and the American socialite Alene Erlanger – add to the dishonesty of his public image. Yet O’Faolain’s claim to heroism lies not in any righteous constancy but precisely ...


Rosemary Hill: The Writers’ Blitz

21 February 2013
The Love-Charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War 
by Lara Feigel.
Bloomsbury, 519 pp., £25, January 2013, 978 1 4088 3044 4
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... Central Council of School Broadcasting, when he heard that the British fleet was mobilising. This meant that war with Germany was imminent and Cameron telephoned home to give his wife, the novelist ElizabethBowen, the news. She received it without apparent emotion and with an awkwardness of tone that made an impression on the Irish writer and occasional IRA gunman Sean O’Faolain, with whom she was in ...

Did You Have Bombs?

Deborah Friedell: ‘The Other Elizabeth​ Taylor’

6 August 2009
The Other Elizabeth​ Taylor 
by Nicola Beauman.
Persephone, 444 pp., £15, April 2009, 978 1 906462 10 9
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... Do novelists come nicer than Elizabeth Taylor? Her mother died of politeness – she developed appendicitis over Christmas, and didn’t want to interrupt the doctor’s holiday – but rather than renounce good manners on the spot, her ...

Female Heads

John Bayley

27 October 1988
Woman to Woman: Female Friendship in Victorian Fiction 
by Tess Cosslett.
Harvester, 211 pp., £29.95, July 1988, 0 7108 1015 6
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Sentiment and Sociability: The Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century 
by John Mullan.
Oxford, 261 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 19 812865 7
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The Early Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney. Vol. I: 1768-1773 
edited by Lars Troide.
Oxford, 353 pp., £45, June 1988, 9780198125815
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... Fay Weldon has done, that being women made them unable to understand or feel sympathy with a man. The honesty of that remark shows just how far, in the post-Drabble-Byatt novel, the process has gone. ElizabethBowen or Elizabeth Taylor ignored, in their individual ways, all idea of being ‘women novelists’, as Anita Brookner does today. However ‘feminine’ their subject-matter, they don’t approach ...
25 October 1979
Darkness Visible 
by William Golding.
Faber, 256 pp., £4.95, January 1979, 0 571 11646 9
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... on the natural reality of the figures whom he manipulates for thoughtful, magical ends. How misfits grow up cannot easily be demonstrated convincingly by a novelist who has planned what is to happen (ElizabethBowen failed at the same technique in The Heat of the Day), but at the same time the childhood of those two is given a wonderfully creepy quality, which would not be retrospectively diminished had ...


J.I.M. Stewart

19 March 1981
Abroad: British Literary Travelling Between the Wars 
by Paul Fussell.
Oxford, 246 pp., £8.95, March 1981, 0 19 502767 1
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... names in The Waste Land, and ‘spacial works’ are for a time all the go: ‘C.E. Montague’s novel takes the reader Right Off the Map, Eliot invites him to join the ‘Journey of the Magi’, and ElizabethBowen allows him to live in The Hotel.’ It is significant that, in what is still the age of the great Cunarders, somebody calls a popular play Outward Bound, and that Yeats, having to find a title ...

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