7 thoughts on “People, Places, Things — Elizabeth Bowen

  1. LIGHT

    Modern Lighting
    Sophisticated array of light involving Proust and Poe, going in and out of rooms and doors. Even more sophisticated than light and darkness in Bowen fiction. Ending…
    “…light drifts and trickles down on the moiré wallpaper.”

  2. The 1938 Academy: An Unprofessional View

    A beautifully erratic Bowenesque tour of the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1938, pre-war as well as pre-Anita Brookner.
    Facts as fiction, and vice versa. Disconcertingly un-disconcerting, and vice versa.

  3. Christmas at Bowen’s Court

    This is essential Bowen non-fiction for any fiction-loving Boweneer. The aura of Christmas in this Irish house, echoing some of the Bowen Christmas fiction itself. The force of light through its windows and the later light of a Christmas candle. It is exquisite. And it has, in at least two places, references to Shannon Airport and its early air travel threaded into it. Which seems somehow appropriate as, earlier this same afternoon, I read and reviewed (here), some remarkable fiction by a modern author whom I am increasingly seeing as a Boweneer himself, i.e. some of his fiction that happened to feature Shannon Airport in it.

  4. The Light in the Dark

    This essay is possibly the apotheosis of Bowen, an ineffable inevitability, a summoning of Christmas as an exquisition of the soul that stems from a sort of spiritual nostalgia for its childhood trappings and its storified backstory, rather than from being strictly Christian as a faith. Reading this today has lifted my heart or spirits and I sensed an Angel passing above my roof. It also gave some meaning to aspects of Bowen fiction as a blessing, an upwelling within those somehow psychologically meaningful, if ornate, objects we place around us simply to see as a home, to sit around or upon.

    “‘On Christmas Eve,’ I thought, as a child, ‘even the furniture looks different!’”


    An apotheosis of Bowen as a rapture of perception, here Christmas candles and other epiphanies of vision. But as nothing, I say, when compared to the passion of this reading moment, especially as reading is through my eyes, too.

  6. This LIGHT sub-section ends with …


    “The bent-down ray falling cleanly onto the page: what a reader’s paradise.”

    The development of light into electric modernity, one being the older need to keep things from fading from light, the other now worshipping it as sun lovers in later years — a polarity of ‘light’ genders paired, and each shadow its shadowy third? With obliquities of candies and mirrors and fountains as Greek chorus?

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