Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973

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British writer of essays, short stories, and novels.

From the description of Letter to Mrs. Brownrigg [?], ca. 1930. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122570785

Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1923) was an Anglo-Irish author. Among her many novels are The last September (1929), The house in Paris (1935), The death of the heart (1938), The heat of the day (1948), A world of love (1955), and Eva Trout; or, changing scenes (1968). Her other numerous writings encompass literary criticism, reviews and several volumes of short stories.

From the description of Papers of Elizabeth Bowen, 1934-1946 (bulk 1944-1946). (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122369279

Anglo-Irish novelist, short story writer.

From the description of Elizabeth Bowen Collection, 1923-1975. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122632957

Elizabeth Bowen was the only child born to Henry Cole Bowen and Florence Colley Brown. Though the place of birth on June 7, 1899, was Dublin, her family home was Bowen's Court, near Kildorrey, County Cork, Ireland. Because of her father's law practice, the family divided their residency between Dublin and Bowen's Court. Elizabeth enjoyed a normal Anglo-Irish childhood with her parents until her father suffered a nervous breakdown in 1905 when the pattern changed. Her father was hospitalized off and on for the following few years and, following the advice of his physician, Elizabeth and her mother moved to England to stay with various aunts. As a child Elizabeth insulated herself from stress by paying close attention to her childhood world of the imagination and the part place played in her life. A stammar in her speech developed at this time which stayed with her for the rest of her life. Her father recovered by the time she was twelve, but before the family was fully reunited her mother, diagnosed with cancer, died when Elizabeth was thirteen. Maternal aunts, who took over her care, arranged for her to attend a boarding school, Downe House, in Kent, from 1914 to 1917. This school played a significant role in her development as a young woman and as a writer with its emphasis on limiting display of one's feelings and its strong encourgement of sociability at meals. Later Elizabeth was known as a considerate and successful hostess.

Elizabeth enjoyed painting and drawing as a child and in 1918 studied at the London County Council School of Art but withdrew after two terms because of what she considered her limited ability. She was to make use of this painter's sensitivity in her literary work, however. She had done a great deal of creative writing while at Downe House, mainly short stories, and decided this was her calling. She set about incorporating her memories and experiences into her fiction. Rose Macaulay, a friend of the headmistress of Downe House, gave her guidance and introduced her to editors, publishers, literary agents, and others who could help a fledgling writer.

Elizabeth's first volume of short stories, Encounters, was published in 1923, the year she married Alan Charles Cameron, an assistant secretary for education in Northampton. Upon his promotion to Secretary of Education for the city of Oxford she found the intellectual atmosphere of the city conducive to her further development as a writer. Her second volume of stories, Ann Lee's and Other Stories (1926), was followed by her first novel, The Hotel (1927). During her years at Oxford Elizabeth published her second novel, The Last September (1929), and two collections of short fiction, Joining Charles and Other Stories (1929) and The Cat Jumps and Other Stories (1934), as well as three additional novels, Friends and Relations (1931), To the North (1932), and The House in Paris (1935).

In 1935 Elizabeth and Alan moved to Regent's Park in London, which furthered her career. She began writing reviews for the Tatler and in 1938 her novel, the Death of the Heart, was published, followed by Look at All Those Roses: Short Stories in 1941. World War II played a dominant role in her writing as well as in her life. She became an Air Raid Precautions warden which brought her into contact with people she would not have known otherwise and opened up new avenues of interest for her writing. Also she and Alan often experienced the effects of the bombing raids on their own home in Regent's Park. Two of her works from this period, her novel The Heat of the Day (1949) and The Demon Lover, and Other Stories (1945), are considered by some to be among the best records of London during the war.

After the war Elizabeth continued to write short stories and essays, and produced three additional novels, A World of Love (1955), The Little Girls (1964), and Eva Trout; or, Changing Scenes (1968) for which she received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1970. She wrote essays and reviews for the Tatler, the Cornhill Magazine, the New Statesman and Nation, the New Republic, the New York Times Magazine, Harpers, and the Saturday Review of Literature, among others, and became associate editor of London Magazine. After her husband's death in 1952 she spent part of every year in the United States lecturing and working as a writer in residence. Elizabeth Bowen died of lung cancer at her home at Hythe in Kent on February 22, 1973.

From the guide to the Elizabeth Bowen Collection TXRC98-A19., 1923-1975, (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Arnold, Sidney,. Correspondence pertaining to the Rushton Seminar [manuscript], 1953-1954. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Blanding, Sarah Gibson, 1898-1985. Sarah Gibson Blanding papers, 1946-1985. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973. Papers of Elizabeth Bowen, 1934-1946 (bulk 1944-1946). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Donald and Katharine Foley Collection of Penguin Books, 1935-1965 Bancroft Library
creatorOf Howard, Elizabeth Jane. Papers of Elizabeth Jane Howard, 1933-2009. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973. Elizabeth Bowen Collection, 1923-1975. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Donald and Katharine Foley Collection of Penguin Books, post 1965 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Virginia Woolf collection of papers, 1882-1984, 1912-1940 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Lynd, Robert, 1879-1949. Robert and Sylvia Lynd collection, 1904-1949. Boston University. School of Medicine
referencedIn L. P. Hartley letters, 1958-1972 L. Tom Perry Special Collections20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
creatorOf Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973. [Preface for Trollope's Doctor Thorne] : typescript : [n.p., n.d.]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Elizabeth Bowen Collection TXRC98-A19., 1923-1975 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973. Autograph letters signed (3) and typed letters signed (1) : various places, to Gordon N. Ray, 1951 July 6-1953 Apr. 16. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973. Letters to various members of the Society of Authors, 1946-1964. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Mary Katharine Woodworth papers, 1787-1989 Bryn Mawr College
referencedIn Rose, W. K. William Kent Rose papers, [ca. 1940]-1968. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Margaret Cousins Papers TXRC91-A12., 1921-73 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1963. University of Pennsylvania Library
creatorOf Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973. Letter to Mrs. Brownrigg [?], ca. 1930. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Cousins, Margaret, 1905-1996. Papers, 1921-1973. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Bogan, Louise, 1897-1970. Louise Bogan papers, 1936-1954. Princeton University Library
creatorOf Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records. Series III., Blanche W. Knopf, 1918-1966 (bulk 1940-1966). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973. Autograph letters signed (2) : Kildorrery, Cork, to "Dear Gertrude", 1956 Apr. 11 and 1957 June 9. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf O'Conor, Norreys Jephson, b. 1885. Papers of Norreys Jephson O'Conor, 1890-1964 (bulk 1940-1958). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf King, Francis Henry. Collection, 1923-1992. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Ottoline Morrell Collection TXRC98-A17., 1882-1946, (bulk 1882-1938) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Rose, W. K. William Kent Rose papers, [ca. 1940]-1968. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Plomer Collection, 1870-1973 (predominantly post-1920) Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn Compton-Burnett, I. (Ivy), 1884-1969. Ivy Compton-Burnett letters, 1941-1972. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Lawlor, Patrick Anthony. Correspondence on Katherine Mansfield, 1938-1966. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Samuels, Jack Harris, d. 1966,. English and American literary manuscripts and letters collection, 1663-1964. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Hartley, L. P. (Leslie Poles), 1895-1972. L. P. Hartley letters, 1958-1972. American Primers
referencedIn Bell, Susan G. An annotated bibliography of British women's autobiographies, 1790-1950 : research and reference materials, 1986-1998. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973. The evil that men do [Multimédia multisupport] / Elisabeth Bowen, aut. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn J.M. Dent & Sons. J.M. Dent & Sons records, 1834-1986 (author files Bi-By). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard College Library) poetry readings, 1931- (ongoing). Woodberry Poetry Room, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Francis Henry King Collection TXRC92-A51., 1939-1992 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. William A. Koshland Files None., 1921-1996 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Haydn, Hiram Collins, 1907-1973,. Creative writing questionnaires for writing class at University of Pennsylvania, 1970-1972. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn British authors collection, 1840-1953. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Letters to Robert B. Martin, 1847-[1850?], 1962-85, n.d. University of Oxford, Bodleian Library
referencedIn William Sansom collection of papers, 1926-1972 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn New Yorker records, ca.1924-1984 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Healy, James Augustine, 1891-1975,. James A. Healy Irish ephemera, ca. 1902-1966. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973. Letters : Kildorrery, to Jane Y. Savage, Philadelphia, Pa. 1956 June 16 and Sept. 22. Bryn Mawr College, Mariam Coffin Canaday Library
referencedIn Susan Groag Bell's, An Annotated bibliography of British Women's autobiographies, 1790-1950 :, research and reference materials, 1986-1998 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Blanding, Sarah Gibson, 1898-1985. Papers, 1946-1985. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Morrell, Ottoline Violet Anne Cavendish-Bentinck, Lady, 1873-1938. Ottoline Morrell Collection, 1882-1946 (bulk 1882-1938). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Welty, Eudora, 1909-2001. Eudora Welty papers, 1951-1957 (bulk 1951-1952). Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
referencedIn Milberg, Leonard L.,. Leonard L. Milberg autograph collection, 1824-1978. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Hench, Atcheson Laughlin, 1891-1974. Papers regarding Padraic Colum's visit to the University of Virginia [manuscript] 1954. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Landau, Rom, 1899-1974. The Rom Landau Collection, 1899-1965. University of California, Santa Barbara, UCSB Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. person
associatedWith Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Bell, Susan G. person
associatedWith Bell, Susan Groag person
associatedWith Blanding, Sarah Gibson, 1898-1985. person
associatedWith Bogan, Louise, 1897-1970. person
associatedWith Bowra, C. M. (Cecil Maurice), 1898-1971 person
associatedWith British Broadcasting Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith British Council. corporateBody
associatedWith Brownlee, Jean. person
associatedWith Compton-Burnett, I. (Ivy), 1884-1969. person
associatedWith Coppard, A. E. (Alfred Edgar), 1878-1957 person
associatedWith Cousins, Margaret, 1905- person
associatedWith Cresset Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Curtis Brown, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Day-Lewis, Cecil, 1904-1972 person
associatedWith Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965. person
associatedWith Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Sterns), 1888-1965 person
associatedWith Foley, Donald L. person
associatedWith Foley, Katharine person
associatedWith Foley, Katharine person
associatedWith Great Britain. Control Office for Germany and Austria. corporateBody
associatedWith Greene, Graham, 1904-1991. person
associatedWith Hartley, L. P. (Leslie Poles), 1895-1972 person
associatedWith Haydn, Hiram Collins, 1907-1973, person
associatedWith Hayward, John, 1905-1965. person
associatedWith Healy, James Augustine, 1891-1975, person
associatedWith Hench, Atcheson Laughlin, 1891-1974. person
associatedWith Howard, Elizabeth Jane. person
associatedWith J.M. Dent & Sons. corporateBody
associatedWith Jonathan Cape, Ltd. corporateBody
associatedWith King, Francis Henry. person
associatedWith King, Francis Henry, 1923- person
associatedWith Landau, Rom, 1899-1974. person
associatedWith Lawlor, Patrick Anthony. person
associatedWith Lehmann, John, 1907-1987. person
associatedWith Lehmann, Rosamond, 1901- person
associatedWith Longmans, Green and Company, Ltd. corporateBody
correspondedWith Lynd, Robert, 1879-1949. person
associatedWith Macaulay, Rose, Dame person
associatedWith Macaulay, Rose, Dame. person
correspondedWith Milberg, Leonard L., person
associatedWith Morrell, Ottoline Violet Anne Cavendish-Bentinck, Lady, 1873-1938 person
correspondedWith New Yorker Magazine, Inc corporateBody
associatedWith O'Conor, Norreys Jephson, b. 1885. person
associatedWith Pilot Press, Ltd. corporateBody
associatedWith Plomer, William, 1903-1973 person
associatedWith Pritchett, V. S. (Victor Sawdon), 1900-1997. person
associatedWith Ray, Gordon Norton, 1915- person
associatedWith Rieu, E. V. (Emile Victor), 1887-1972. person
associatedWith Roberts, Denys Kilham, 1903-1976, person
associatedWith Rose, W. K. person
associatedWith Samuels, Jack Harris, d. 1966, person
associatedWith Sansom, William, 1912- person
associatedWith Sarton, May, 1912- person
associatedWith Savage, Jane Yeatman. person
associatedWith Scott-James, R. A. (Rolfe Arnold), b. 1878. person
associatedWith Society of Authors (Great Britain), corporateBody
associatedWith Spender, Stephen, 1909- person
associatedWith Taylor, Elizabeth, 1912-1975 person
associatedWith The Opus Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Waugh, Evelyn, 1903-1966 person
associatedWith Wells, H. G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946 person
associatedWith Welty, Eudora, 1909- person
associatedWith Welty, Eudora, 1909-2001. person
associatedWith Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard College Library). corporateBody
associatedWith Woodworth, Elizabeth person
associatedWith Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Ireland
Great Britain
Subject
Ireland in literature
Women and literature--History--20th century
Women authors--Correspondence
Women novelists, Irish--20th century
World War, 1939-1945--Literature and the war
Publishers and publishing--Correspondence
World War--1939-1945--Women--Correspondence
War in literature
Authors, British--20th century--Correspondence
Authors, English--20th century
Women and literature--Ireland--History--20th century
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1899-06-07

Death 1973-02-22

Irish (Republic of Ireland)

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 30929