Elizabeth Bowen, Full name Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen

Bowen, Full name Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen

Anglo-Irish Novelist, Short-Story Writer

Author Quotes

You must show him your monkey: I am sure he will like that.

Autumn arrives in early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day.

Emerald’s children looked up at her out of a coloured earthquake-city. Unnerved by her manner they turned to retreat; gilt, flowered and brightly pictorial boxes scrunched with the unresistance of cardboard under their wildly placed feet. They evacuated, with shaken majesty, an empire of chocolate boxes.

I swear that each of us keeps, battened down inside himself, a sort of lunatic giant - impossible socially, but full-scale - and that it's the knockings and batterings we sometimes hear in each other that keeps our intercourse from utter banality.

Mechanical difficulties with language are the outcome of internal difficulties with thought.

Rich women live at such a distance from life that very often they never see their money — the Queen, they say, for instance, never carries a purse.

Square cattle moved in the fields like saints, with a mindless certainty. Single trees, on a rath, at the turn of the road, drew up light at their roots. Only the massed trees – spread like a rug to dull some keenness, break some contact between self and senses perilous to the routine of living – only the trees of the demesne were dark, exhaling darkness. Down among them, dusk would stream up the paths ahead, lie stagnant over the lawns, would mount in the tank of garden, heightening the walls, dulling the borders like a rain of ashes. Dusk would lie where one looked as though it were in one’s eyes, as though the fountain of darkness were in one’s own perception. Seen from above, the house in its pit of trees seemed a very reservoir of obscurity; from the doors one must come out stained with it. And the kitchen smoke, lying over the vague trees doubtfully, seemed to be the very fume of living.

The third day was nearly all wet, though it cleared towards evening and a fine sunset crimsoned the canal. Today it had come on about lunch time, a different rain; finer, gentler, more inexorable, that made the air woolly, left a muddy taste in one’s mouth and dulled everything.

When her head fell back in despair, while the man devoured her face horribly, one watched her forgotten arm hang down over his shoulder: the tips of the fingers twitched. What was she thinking about, what did women think about – then?

But Miss Pym gave an impression, somehow, of having been attacked from within.

Emmeline met Markie at Croydon: he was so very late she feared he would miss the plane. In her thin grey coat and skirt she sat waiting under the skylight on that sexagonal seat round the little pharos of clocks. A huge blue June day filled the aerodrome and reflected itself in the hall: she heard a great hum from the waiting plane hungry for flight.

I think the main thing, don't you, is to keep the show on the road.

Meeting people unlike oneself does not enlarge one's outlook; it only confirms one's idea that one is unique.

Rosalind flung herself into the drawing-room; it was honey-colored and lovely in the pale spring light, another little clock was ticking in the corner, there were more bowls of primroses and black-eyed, lowering anemones. The tarnished mirror on the wall distorted and reproved her angry face in its mild mauveness.

That is partly why women marry - to keep up the fiction of being in the hub of things.

The wish to lead out one's lover must be a tribal feeling; the wish to be seen as loved is part of one's self-respect.

Who is ever adequate? We all create situations each other can't live up to, then break our hearts at them because they don't.

But nowadays the whole incentive to motoring seems an anxiety to be elsewhere.

Emmeline’s world, that had hung shining throughout the week like a bubble on some divine breath, contracted suddenly to this room – staring, positive, full of shelves and tables – the scene of some terror from which she had lately fled.

If a theme or idea is too near the surface, the novel becomes simply a tract illustrating an idea.

Miss Fitzgerald hurried out of the Hotel into the road. Here she stood still, looking purposelessly up and down in the blinding sunshine and picking at the fingers of her gloves. She was frightened by an interior quietness and by the thought that she had for once in her life stopped thinking and might never begin again.

She became incoherent. Maurice’s irritation audibly increased. They were both conscious of the darkening, rain-loud room.

The best that an individual can do is to concentrate on what he or she can do, in the course of a burning effort to do it better.

Their hands, swinging, touched lightly now and then; their nearness was as natural as the June day.

With all that Miss Selby scarcely ever went out: wasn’t it funny? She had not ‘done’ any of the places; she was ‘keeping’ Rome. For when, for whom, was she keeping it? One didn’t like to ask. That was Miss Selby’s secret, which, like a soap-bubble at the end of a pipe, would bulge, subside, waver, wobble iridescently, and subside again. Later, among the trees of the Pincio it transpired that she was keeping Rome for Somebody. Ah, really? Miss Phelps found this beautiful. Miss Selby interrupted her sight to confess that she allowed herself daily small rations; she would stand looking, for instance, through the railings of the Forum without going in.

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Bowen, Full name Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen
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Anglo-Irish Novelist, Short-Story Writer