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Elizabeth Bowen

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des lewis
Posted on Saturday, January 13, 2007 - 02:10 pm:   

Anyone come across this writer?
If so, what do you think?

I've just created a MySpace for her:
http://www.myspace.com/elizabeth_bowen
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Carole Hall
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 10:21 am:   

I've only read a few of her stories, but was v impressed. It's good to read more about her though - I must admit that I also am quite interested in 'life with the lid on', and what transpires when the lid comes off (although maybe that isn't so relevant nowadays).
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des lewis
Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - 12:58 am:   

Thanks, Carole. She writes better than anyone else I know in or out of genre. I am currently putting a lot of goodies on to the myspace - including bulletin quotations for 'friends', essays (academic and fannish) by others etc etc. It will also include my own essay on EB from HORROR: Another 100 Best Books (2005)
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des lewis
Posted on Friday, January 19, 2007 - 10:18 am:   

A 'friend' on this MySpace (by the name of Martyn Holland) has provided a startling essay of The World Of Love HERE.

This will be of interest to serious students of Weird Fiction.
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Dflewis
Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 07:45 am:   

I've just re-read the story At Ann Lee's. I think it one of the most disturbing stories I've ever read.
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Dflewis
Posted on Monday, February 26, 2007 - 10:13 am:   

I've stacked many quotations from EB's early fiction here:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=147731320&MyT oken=4575d386-a340-44ca-a422-3795b283d90fML

More to come over the years!
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Carole Hall
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 04:38 am:   

'Anna Partridge, whose brain was all shreddy with rabbit-combing and raffia' - love it!
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Dflewis
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 08:24 am:   

Thanks, Carole. EB was one *amazing* writer and her later stories and novels (yet to be quoted from) are even more amazing!

My couple of favourite quotes from those I've made so far are shown below. (1) is towards the beginning of 'The Last September' (1929) whilst (2) is at the end of that novel. If I had not quoted the earlier one, I'm sure I would not have noticed this subtle connection!

(1) Over the mottled carpet curled strange pink fronds: someone dead now, buying this carpet, had responded to an idea of beauty. Lois thought how in Marda's bedroom, when she was married, there might be a dark blue carpet with a bloom on it like a grape, and how this room, this hour would be forgotten. Already the room seemed full of the dusk of oblivion. And she hoped that instead of fading to dust in summers of empty sunshine, the carpet would burn with the house in a scarlet night to make one flaming call upon Marda's memory.

(2) For in February, before those leaves had visibly budded, the death – execution, rather – of the three houses, Danielstown, Castle Trent, Mount Isabel, occurred in the same night. A fearful scarlet ate up the hard spring darkness; indeed, it seemed that an extra day, unreckoned, had come to abortive birth that these things might happen. It seemed, looking from east to west at the sky tall with scarlet, that the country itself was burning…


My short essay on EB that was first published in print (2005):
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=147731320&blogID =216522491&Mytoken=36E3A7EA-78DF-4730-A8DEC6AD8624B88913568050
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Carole Hall
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 10:33 am:   

I really liked these two quotes as well:

'The dining-room was dark red, with a smoky ceiling, and Gerald said afterwards he had felt like a disease in a liver. When the blancmange came in it lay down with a sob and Miss Thompson frowned at it.'

'She thought a Major proposed to her, though he seemed rather old, but he was so much confused and had such a mumbly moustache she could not be certain.'
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Dflewis
Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 10:57 am:   

I've just re-read tonight an early story called TELLING. It is very brutal, very disturbing. I could not recall it from reading it the first time around a few years ago. EB is very slippery...
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Dflewis
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2007 - 02:43 pm:   

Just read one of her masterpieces (from 1934): a long story entitled THE DISINHERITED. This reminds me of 'Twin Peaks', Robert Aickman, DH Lawrence and James Joyce.

Meanwhile, more startling EB quotes continuing to appear here:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=147731320&MyT oken=ff3e75b4-63df-41db-826a-24cbd5cbf9c0ML
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des lewis
Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - 11:51 am:   

Have you tried the blog on Elizabeth Bowen's MySpace? She is in the current process of systematically (like the sugar cubes in 'The Roman Question') lining up short samples from all her stories and novels. These quotes are little short of stunning.
http://www.myspace.com/elizabeth_bowen
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des lewis
Posted on Friday, May 04, 2007 - 05:17 am:   

Vintage quotes - you should only spend one lifetime ignoring Elizabeth Bowen:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=147731320&MyT oken=fcddc7b7-505a-415a-af77-8840cb69b4f1ML
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des lewis
Posted on Friday, May 04, 2007 - 10:56 am:   

I've just read the story 'The Claimant' by EB. It's the first time I've ever read this as (tipped off by someone) this story is to be found in THE THIRD GHOST BOOK Ed. Lady Cynthia Asquith, not (for whatever reason) in the 'Collected Stories of Elizabeh Bowen'!
This story, for the first time, I feel, makes an EB ghost unutterably visible.

PS: Perhaps 'The Claimant' itself is a claimant to the EB canon!
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des lewis
Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 12:42 pm:   

Snapping Bits Out Of The Silence - recent batch quite startling:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=147731320&MyT oken=a589cd62-893d-449f-80a7-89163c56ddb9ML
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Carole Hall
Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 01:19 pm:   

It's quite weird reading those quotes, as they are so purple that your eyes gradually become estranged from your body...

The one I liked was this:

~Those darkish late afternoons he was there so often, waiting for Mme Fisher to come in or be free to talk to him: when he was not really there, some shadow often deceived Karen, or she would be misled by a door ajar: uncertainty, at that special time of day, made her life pump through her furiously, uselessly.~

I wonder how Elizabeth Bowen fared being a woman writer - doesn't seem to have done her any harm (or maybe it did?).
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des lewis
Posted on Saturday, June 02, 2007 - 06:08 am:   

your eyes gradually become estranged from your body...

Thanks, Carole.
Some more posted today, perhaps not quite so purple!
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=147731320&MyT oken=37279ad0-e96f-4795-88d1-945c64c66decML
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des lewis
Posted on Monday, June 18, 2007 - 12:45 pm:   

"Today this surely was the wettest village in the world: the poor late lilac was sodden; its leaves ran like gutters. Rain fell over dark doorways; the plaster cottages were distraught with it; the brick cottages sullen. Smoke from the dinner fires hung heavy, clotting the trees, and where under dark eaves the old woman still did not die, geraniums stifled, pressing close to the panes. The International Stores, full of cocoa, stood over its red reflection. No one crossed the street or even came to a door: a quenched, drenched day, thought Janet. And in the village, something suspended, perhaps finally over: evening brightly dissolving the roofs, the hourless blank of sunshine, dark lamplight, the bucket swinging up bright from the cold well. There would be worse days here, some better; none, you had to believe, final. To be consoled it was better to live indoors, without spectacle."

From Part II (3) of 'Friends & Relations' (1931) by Elizabeth Bowen


[More Elizabeth Bowen quotes here: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog&Mytoken=0AB9B0C2-E1EB-4735-8F7 3C98C92EAD52353575862 ]
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des lewis
Posted on Monday, July 16, 2007 - 12:27 am:   

Delighted that Ivy Compton-Burnett has now joined up as a friend:
http://profile.myspace.com/elizabeth_bowen
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Monday, July 16, 2007 - 04:43 pm:   

I'll need to check Elizabeth Bowen out if I get the chance. Sounds intriguing. I'll be on the lookout for her work.
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des lewis
Posted on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - 01:13 am:   

I first made EB's acquaintance in the sixties in Lady Cynthia Asquith's Ghost Books, although EB did write from the twenties to the seventies.
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des lewis
Posted on Monday, August 06, 2007 - 08:21 am:   

To keep this thread up to date;
EB has just finished quoting from all her short stories, but not yet from all her novels:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=147731320
Please let her know if she has forgotten any of her stories in this long and onerous task.
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des lewis
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2007 - 08:09 am:   

Having been seen at the window, having been waved to, made Anna step back instinctively. She knew how foolish a person looking out of a window appears from the outside of a house – as though waiting for something that does not happen, as though wanting something from the outside world. A face at a window for no reason is a face that should have a thumb in its mouth: there is something only-childish about it. Or, if the face is not foolish it is threatening – blotted white by the darkness inside the room it suggests a malignant indoor power.

From Part III (2) 'The Death of the Heart' by Elizabeth Bowen (1938)
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des lewis
Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - 12:20 pm:   

Three of them: three other children. Down there in the pit, that bucket of dusk, she had not counted them – on the flit, they had been innumerable. They had answered from all over the place. They had cast looks rather than shown faces.
From Part III (7) of 'The Little Girls' 1964

I am now up to the 69th posting on the Elizabeth Bowen blog giving my favourite quote from each story and from each novel chapter:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=147731320&blogID =319546063
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des lewis
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 08:04 am:   

Last quote from EB's fiction:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=147731320

I have been meticulously working on these for nearly a year, burning the midnight oil. There are 77 sets of these quotes.

It represents a systematic sampling from all Elizabeth Bowen's novel chapters and stories.
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Dflewis
Junior Member
Username: Dflewis

Post Number: 330
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2008 - 02:01 am:   

I have just received, hot off the press, a hardback book entitled THE BAZAAR AND OTHER STORIES by Elizabeth Bowen (edited by Allan Hepburn - Edinburgh University Press). This contains 28 stories by Elizabeth Bowen that have never been collected before (many of them never been published at all before).

I think the only one I've ever read is 'The Claimant' first published in 'The Third Ghost Book' (1955) edited byLady Cynthia Asquith, a story that was not included, for some reason, in the 1980 volume of her collected stories.

This is a major event for Elizabeth Bowen fiction lovers. :-)
===============
I have laboriously quoted samples over the years from every Elizabeth Bowen novel chapter and every story, starting here:
http://weirdmonger.blog-city.com/a_stone_memorial_to_elizabeth_bowen.htm
===================

I now need to do this with regard to the new book described above. And below is the first one from her first published work SALON DES DAMES (1923) (previously uncollected):-
==================

Each of the hundred bedrooms with their shuttered windows might have held a corpse, rotting in humidity beneath the glacial swathings of the bed. In the lounge, a mist perpetually filmed the mirrors, the wicker armchairs gathering sociably around the glass-topped tables creaked at one another in the silence, so that now and then an apprehensive human head would bob up from over a writing table or the back of a settee. The rain was always audible on the glass roof of the verandah.
It is terrible to be alone in the darkness of rain, swept aside by one's world's indifference into a corner of a house. It is still more terrible to be swept aside into a corner of a continent.

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