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Saint Jane

D.A.N. Jones

20 October 1983
The Good Father 
by Peter Prince.
Cape, 204 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 224 02131 1
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Mrs Pooter’s Diary 
by Keith Waterhouse and John​ Jensen.
Joseph, 208 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 7181 2339 5
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Dandiprat’s Days 
by David Thomson.
Dent, 165 pp., £8.50, September 1983, 0 460 04613 6
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The Dream of a Beast 
by Neil Jordan.
Chatto, 103 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 7011 2740 6
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Squeak: A Biography of NPA 1978A 203 
by John Bowen and Eric Fraser.
Faber, 127 pp., £2.95, October 1983, 0 571 13170 0
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The Life and Times of Michael K 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 250 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 436 10297 8
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... Much of her time is devoted to plotting against him, devising schemes for moving the family away from boring Holloway to good old Peckham on the south side of the river, nearer the centre of things. John Jensen’s illustrations match Weedon Grossmith’s very neatly. Carrie thought the Pooters’ house rather too near the railway line, and deemed her husband’s jolly friend, Gowing, a touch too ...

Belfast Book

Patricia Craig

5 June 1986
Lonely the man without heroes 
by M.S. Power.
Heinemann, 222 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 434 59960 3
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The Pearlkillers 
by Rachel Ingalls.
Faber, 205 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 571 13795 4
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The Girls 
by John Bowen.
Hamish Hamilton, 182 pp., £8.95, April 1986, 0 241 11867 0
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To have and to hold 
by Deborah Moggach.
Viking, 320 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 670 80812 1
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Vacant Possession 
by Hilary Mantel.
Chatto, 239 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 7011 3047 4
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Breaking the rules 
by Caroline Lassalle.
Hamish Hamilton, 280 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 241 11837 9
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The Bay of Silence 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Cape, 163 pp., £8.95, May 1986, 0 224 02345 4
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... back (1939) offers a view of Belfast as unpretentious as a game of hopscotch on the pavement. For back-street knowingness and flamboyance you have to come right up to the present and the stories of John Morrow, in which the native idiom and capacity for non-serious outrage find their fullest expression. All these afford no more than glimpses, if compelling ones; as yet, no Honorary Consul, Golden ...
16 October 1980
An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy 
by John​ Stuart Mill, edited by J.M. Robson.
Routledge, 625 pp., £15.95, February 1980, 0 7100 0178 9
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... Philosophy, first published in 1865, as a set text. But it has happened. George Santayana, who graduated from Harvard College in 1886, has described in Persons and Places the teaching of Francis Bowen: But Harvard possessed safe, sober old professors also and oldest of all, ‘Fanny’ Bowen ... He was a dear old thing, and an excellent teacher. Between his fits of coughing, and his invectives ...

Into Council Care

John​ Bayley

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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... 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 Elizabeth Bowen 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 panache ...

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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... 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 Elizabeth Bowen – 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 anybody ...

Flings

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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... 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 Elizabeth Bowen, 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 bed at ...
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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... coming into vogue; it was a term of abuse used about historians who were peddling anti-nationalist views of Irish history. The most seriously revisionist text, however, to appear in those years was John Banville’s Birchwood, a novel published in 1973, the year of Ireland’s entry into the EC. Here, Irish history was an enormous joke, a baroque narrative full of crack-pot landlords and roaming ...
24 April 1997
... 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. Elizabeth Bowen 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, have ...
11 March 1993
Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It 
by Brett Millier.
California, 602 pp., £18.50, April 1993, 0 520 07978 7
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... thoughts against thoughts in groans grind. For too long, Bishop had lived these moral choices of life/death, right/wrong, male/female: but at last, the early happy years with Lota had made them seem irrelevant, and Bishop, longing for Paradise since her blighted childhood, felt she had found it at Santarém: That golden evening I really wanted to go no farther; more than anything else I wanted to ...
25 October 1979
Darkness Visible 
by William Golding.
Faber, 256 pp., £4.95, January 1979, 0 571 11646 9
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... more worldly, more pretentious – and the German-style version of Hesse or Grass is too instinctively metaphysical, not homespun enough. Richard Hughes was one of our most effective local magicians; John Fowles has become one; William Golding has had the status a long time. His new novel confirms him as a master craftsman in his particular sort of magic. It is beautifully constructed, it grips the ...

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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... Institute of Arts and Letters. He has won the American Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award. For forty years, as a fiction editor on the New Yorker, he advised and goaded Nabokov, Eudora Welty, John Cheever and John Updike. Now, at nearly ninety, Maxwell’s face has a prairie gauntness, as if hollowed out by exposure to those bracing talents. But in Britain his name is almost unknown. He was ...
25 June 1987
... but scholars from both countries took part in a conference held a few years ago to assess his life and work: I was invited to speak about his time at Cambridge. The conference papers, edited by Roger Bowen, have been published, and Dr Bowen has also written an appreciative biography. Japanese studies being his subject, he is well qualified to weigh up the writings on modern Japan of Herbert Norman, a ...

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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... 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. Elizabeth Bowen 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 it ...

Pals

John​ Bayley

23 May 1991
The Oxford Book of Friendship 
edited by D.J. Enright and David Rawlinson.
Oxford, 360 pp., £15, April 1991, 0 19 214190 2
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... a bit sticky and self-conscious about the idea of friendship. Anyone can be in love and proud of it, but to have a ‘friend’ – no, it really won’t do. ‘I’m your friend,’ said Myfanwy to John as they crouched in the ‘dark and furry cupboard while the rest played hide-and-seek’. Betjeman got that about right.‘We’ve always been the greatest friends’ – that is the kind of thing ...
10 December 1987
The Female Form 
by Rosalind Miles.
Routledge, 227 pp., £15.95, July 1987, 0 7102 1008 6
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Feminism and Poetry 
by Jan Montefiore.
Pandora, 210 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 86358 162 5
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Nostalgia and Sexual Difference 
by Janice Doane and Devon Hodges.
Methuen, 169 pp., £20, June 1987, 9780416015317
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Reading Woman 
by Mary Jacobus.
Methuen, 316 pp., £8.95, November 1987, 0 416 92460 3
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The New Feminist Criticism 
edited by Elaine Showalter.
Virago, 403 pp., £11.95, March 1986, 0 86068 722 8
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Reviewing the Reviews 
Journeyman, 104 pp., £4.50, June 1987, 1 85172 007 3Show More
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... of past mistreatment of women, in life and in books, seems to have turned into an assertion of some intangible feminine principle. True, a similar principle was being evoked in the early Thirties by John Cowper Powys, when he commended Dorothy Richardson for having dredged up her novels ‘out of the abyss of feminine consciousness’; and there’s Virginia Woolf’s famous comment on the same set ...

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