Elizabeth Bowen: The Enforced Return

Paperback | February 21, 2008

byNeil Corcoran

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Elizabeth Bowen is a writer who is still too little appreciated. Neil Corcoran presents here a critical study of her novels, short stories, family history, and essays, and shows that her work both inherits from the Modernist movement and transforms its experimental traditions.Elizabeth Bowen: The Enforced Return explores how she adapts Irish Protestant Gothic as a means of interpreting Irish experience during the Troubles of the 1920s and the Second World War, and also as a way of defining the defencelessness of those enduring the Blitz in wartime London. She employsversions of the Jamesian child as a way of offering a critique of the treatment of children in the European novel of adultery, and indeed, implicitly, of the Jamesian child itself. Corcoran relates the various kinds of return and reflex in her work-notably the presence of the supernatural, but alsothe sense of being haunted by reading-to both the Freudian concept of the 'return of the repressed' and to T. S. Eliot's conception of the auditory imagination as a 'return to the origin'.Making greater interpretative use of extra-fictional materials than previous Bowen critics (notably her wartime reports from neutral Ireland to Churchill's government and the diaries of her wartime lover, the Canadian diplomat Charles Ritchie), Corcoran reveals how her fiction merges personal storywith public history. Employing a wealth of original research, his radical new readings propose that Bowen is as important as Samuel Beckett to twentieth-century literary studies--a writer who returns us anew to the histories of both her time and ours.

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Elizabeth Bowen is a writer who is still too little appreciated. Neil Corcoran presents here a critical study of her novels, short stories, family history, and essays, and shows that her work both inherits from the Modernist movement and transforms its experimental traditions.Elizabeth Bowen: The Enforced Return explores how she adapts...

Neil Corcoran is King Alfred Professor of English at the University of Liverpool.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:220 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.51 inPublished:February 21, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199532133

ISBN - 13:9780199532131

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Ireland1. The Ghost in the House: 'Bowen's Court' (1942) and 'The Back Drawing-Room' (1926)2. Discovery of a Lack: 'The Last September' (1928)3. A Gost of Style: 'A World of Love' (1955)2. Children1. Mother and Child: 'The House in Paris' (1935)2. Motherless Child: 'The Death of the Heart' (1938)3. Childless Mother: The Disfigurations of 'Eve Trout or Changing Scenes'3. War1. Words in the Dark: 'The Demon Lover and Other Stories'2. War's Stories: 'The Heat of the Day' (1946) and its Contexts

Editorial Reviews

`Insightful. [Corcoran] is eloquent throughout on two of the strongest strains in Bowens work: her hauntedness, and what he calls the gift or pain or dislocation of living between Ireland and England.'New York Times Book Review