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Elizabeth Bowen: Portrait of a Writer

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Written in the 1970s this is a mercifully short biography, unlike the overlong tomes produced in the last decades.


From Anglo-Irish stock, with Bowen's Court in co. Cork being the family base, she spent most of her adult life either living in Oxford, then London and finally in Hythe, Kent.


Besides the author's life and works, we also get snapshots of between-the- wars writers she mixed with, writers like Rosamond Lehmann, Rose Macaulay, Cyril Connolly and T S Eliot.


Bowen's marriage was a long one but she had quite a few 'adventures'. The author must wish she had had access to just recently published correspondence between Bowen and her long-term lover, the diplomat Charles Ritchie.


I was heartened to read that I am not alone in finding some of her later writing overwrought and having difficult sentence construction e.g in the Heat of the Day.

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