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Elizabeth Bowen Paperback – December 5, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (December 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307277402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307277404
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,393,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Intense and illuminating...a highly readable, compassionate account of a woman as subtly complex and delightfully witty as the novels she wrote." —Chicago Tribune

"As a complex and compelling personality, Miss Bowen comes very much to life on these pages...entirely absorbing." —The New York Times

About the Author

Victoria Glendinning was born in the north of England and read French and Spanish at Oxford. Her first book was A Suppressed Cry, a family memoir about her Quaker great-aunt. She has written biographies of Edith Sitwell (which won the James Tait Black Award and the Duff Cooper Prize), Vita Sackville-West (Whitbread Prize for Biography), Rebecca West, Anthony Trollope (Whitbread Prize for Biography), Jonathan Swift, and Leonard Woolf. She co-edited Mothers and Sons with her son Matthew Glendinning, and has published three novels, The Grown-Ups, Electricity, and Flight. She reviews books for national newspapers and journals, has been a judge of the W. H. Smith Prize and other literary awards, and chair of the judges of the Booker Prize. From 2000-03 she was president of English PEN. She is an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford, and was awarded a CBE in 1998.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jay Dickson VINE VOICE on March 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
Anchor recently has been reissuing almost all of Elizabeth Bowen's novels in gorgeous new editions, and they decided to complement these with this reissue of this excellent 1977 standard life of one of the greatest twentieth-century novelists by Victoria Glendinning, herself one of the best living British biographers. The work is a model of tasteful compression, covering Bowen's very eventful life in only three hundred pages. Glendinning is intelligent in her discussion of Bowen's novels and short fiction, and is exceptionally clear in outlining the major events of Bowen's life: her father's madness in her childhood; her mother's early death from cancer; her remaining awkward adolescence raised by "a committee of aunts'; her beginning literary career in London; her marriage to the bureaucrat Alan Cameron; her inheritance of her father's great ancestral manor house Bowen's Court in County Cork; her affairs; her spying on her native Ireland for Great Britain during World War II; the death of Cameron; her need to sell Bowen's Court in 1959 only to see it immediately torn down by the new owner; and her subsequent itinerant life as one of the last great modernist novelists. It's a very lovely book--Glendinning seems extraordinarily sympathetic to Bowen's humor, elegance, and her grande dame manner.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Frances S. Heales on January 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to declare an interest here, I knew Victoria Glendinning quite well at one time.

One of the striking features of this biography is the way in which Victoria's own life in Ireland makes her sympathetic to the politics when Elizabeth lived there and which she portrays so vividly, particulary in The Last September. Elizabeth shows her readers how various classes of people, particularly the Anglo-Irish saw their environment.

Victoria used her extensive research to describe many aspects of Elizabeth's life and their effects on her writing, thus making her novels both more interesting and more approachable today, when life is very different.
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