Elizabeth Bowen was a famous short story and novelist writer in the 1900’s. Most of her works were heavily influenced by the horrors of both World Wars and any other war that occurred around the time period. Elizabeth Bowen was one of the few writers in her time period that opened the door for writers to create novels & short stories about the importance of strong women and their issues.
Elizabeth Bowen was born on June 7, 1899 in Dublin, Ireland. She went to Downe House School in Kent, Trinity College in Dublin, and Oxford University. After she was married to Alan Cameron in 1923 she then resided in London for the next ten years, which happen to be the setting of most of her short stories and novels. In 1923 Elizabeth published her first book of short stories called Encounters. Between the years 1926 and 1929 she published her very first two novels and two more short story collections. By the year 1935 Elizabeth had published four books of short stories and four novels.
Bowen’s first novel she wrote was The Last September and that was in 1929. This novel’s setting was in Ireland around the late summer, early fall in the 1920’s. It also happened to be in the middle of the Irish War of Independence. The novel is about a young woman having to come of age in a violent time and place (being in Ireland around the War of Independence). She has to deal with her aunt, uncle and their friends having a skeptical attitude toward all the events of the war going around them. The young girl has to attempt to live her life and try to gain her own freedom from the very high social class that her aunt & uncle are siding with. The Last September was a sharply perceived comedy of manners set in the time of the Irish War of Independence (Ireland Literature Exchange).
One of her best stories was The Death of the Heart which was published in 1938. This story again focuses on a young girl whose parents died so she was sent to live with her half brother and his wife. The girl did not connect with her half brother and his wife or even felt like she belonged in their world until she met Eddie, and to her he was the reason for her to be alive. Bowen exposes a segment of English society between the First and Second World War that is stifling and almost completely lacking in compassion (Ireland Literature Exchange). This was one of Elizabeth’s best stories because it related so much to her actual life, her parents died and she was forced to bounce house to house living with relatives and felt like she did not belong just like the young girl in this story.
The Heat of the Day was published in 1949 and really focuses on and influenced by World War II. In this story Elizabeth recreates how dangerous and tense London was during the bombing raids of World War II. It shows how many of the people fled the city to get away and how it was for those who stayed. One of the main characters who chose to stay was a girl named Stella, she does not really feel the...