Course stories + Biography

November 30, 2008 at 10:47 am (Biography, Short Stories)

Bowen (1) 

“Fate is not an eagle, it creeps like a rat.”

Week 13: Elizabeth Bowen, ‘The Back Drawing Room’, ‘The Cat Jumps’, ‘Her Table Spread’, ‘The Demon Lover’, ‘Mysterious Kor’, ‘Ivy Gripped The Steps’, ‘Summer Nights’, and ‘The Happy Autumn Fields’, from Collected Stories (Vintage).

Bowen (2)

Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen (1899-1973)


Anglo-Irish Novelist and short story writer. Born in Dublin, she spent much of her childhood at the family home in Co. Cork which she inherited in 1930 and described in Bowen’s Court (1942). In 1923 she published her first collection of short stories, Encounters, and married Alan Cameron. They lived for ten years in London, vividly evoked in many of her works; her skill in describing landscape, both urban and rural, and her sensitivity to changes of light and season are distinguishing features of her prose. Her novels include The Hotel (1927), The Last September (1929), The House in Paris (1935), A World of Love (1955), and Eva Trout (1969). The best known are probably The Death of the Heart (1938) and The Heat of the Day (1949).


The war inspired many of Elizabeth Bowen’s best short stories, including ‘Mysterious Kôr. A. Wilson in his introduction to her Collected Stories (1980) praised her as one of the great writers of the blitz. Other stories (e.g. the title story of The Cat Jumps, 1934) reveal subtle deployment of the supernatural. She writes most confidently of the upper middle and middle classes, but within that social range her perceptions of change are acute; her works already strike the reader with a powerful sense of period, through their accurate detail and keen response to atmosphere.



  1. Vivienda en Fuensalida said,

    Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old
    daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She
    placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit
    crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!

    LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

    • HWgand said,

      Dear Jill,
      Thanks for your comment, i sincerely liked it!

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