Elizabeth Bowen, Full name Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen

Elizabeth
Bowen, Full name Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen
1899
1973

Anglo-Irish Novelist, Short-Story Writer

Author Quotes

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

But surely love wouldn't get so much talked about if there were not something in it?

Fantasy is toxic: the private cruelty and the world war both have their start in the heated brain.

Ireland is a great country to die or be married in.

Never to lie is to have no lock on your door, you are never wholly alone.

She had one of those charming faces which, according to the angle from which you see them, look either melancholy or impertinent. Her eyes were grey; her trick of narrowing them made her seem to reflect, the greater part of the time, in the dusk of her second thoughts. With that mood, that touch of arriere pensee, went an uncertain, speaking set of lips.

The chocolate gates were streaked a bright green from neglect and opened reluctantly, leaving green dust on the hands. In autumn when the new tenants arrived the drive was matted over with lime leaves that sent up a sodden odor, deadening the footsteps.

There was something so very experienced about the tip of her nose that Lois felt went flat. She felt that she herself must be like a cake in which the flour had been forgotten.

But the imagination-game palled upon him earlier than usual, defeated by his returning consciousness of the room. Here was he alone, enisled with tragedy. The thing had crouched beside his bed at night; he had been conscious of it through the thin texture of his dreams. He reached out again now, timidly, irresistibly to touch it, and found that it had slipped away, withdrawn into ambush, leaving with him nothing of itself, scarcely even a memory.

Fate is not an eagle, it creeps like a rat.

It is not helpful to help a friend by putting coins in his pockets when he has got holes in his pockets.

No, it is not only our fate but our business to lose innocence, and once we have lost that, it is futile to attempt a picnic in Eden.

She had this one limitation, his darling Lois; she couldn’t look on her own eyes, had no idea what she was, resented almost his attention being so constantly fixed on something she wasn’t aware of.

The day was featureless, a stock pattern day of late summer, blandly insensitive to their imprints. The yellow sun – slanting in under the blinds on full bosomed silver, hands balancing Worcester, dogs poking up wistfully from under the cloth – seemed old, used, filtering from the surplus of some happy fulfillment; while, unapproachably elsewhere, something went by without them.

They met the white stare of a cottage, stared and turned.

A fragrant, faint impropriety, orris-dust of a century, still hangs over parts of this neighbourhood; glass passages lead in from high green gates, garden walls are mysterious, laburnums falling between the windows and walls have their own secrets. Acacias whisper at night round airy, ornate little houses in which pretty women lived singly but were not always alone. In the unreal late moonlight you might hear a ghostly hansom click up the empty road, or see on a pale wall the shadow of an opera cloak… Nowadays things are much tamer: Lady Waters could put up no reasoned objection to St. John’s Wood.

But to be quite oneself one must first waste a little time.

For in February, before those leaves had visibly budded, the death – execution, rather – of the three houses, Danielstown, Castle Trent, Mount Isabel, occurred in the same night. A fearful scarlet ate up the hard spring darkness; indeed, it seemed that an extra day, unreckoned, had come to abortive birth that these things might happen. It seemed, looking from east to west at the sky tall with scarlet, that the country itself was burning…

Jocelyn’s bedroom curtains swelled a little over the noisy window. The room was stuffy and – insupportable, so that she did not know where to turn. The house, fingered outwardly by the wind that dragged unceasingly past the walls, was, within, a solid silence: silence heavy as flesh. Jocelyn dropped her wrap to the floor, then watched how its feathered edges crept a little. A draught came in, under her bathroom door.

Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life in his own terms.

She thought a major proposed to her, though he seemed rather old, but he was so much confused and had such a mumbly moustache she could not be certain.

The dining-room was dark red, with a smoky ceiling, and Gerald said afterwards he had felt like a disease in a liver. When the blancmange came in it lay down with a sob and Miss Thompson frowned at it.

They none of them wanted Terry to feel how his movements were sneaking movements: when they met him creeping about by himself they would either ignore him or say: Where are you off to? jocosely and loudly, to hide the fact of their knowing he didn’t know.

A living dog's better than a dead lion.

But what a horrible world 'society' is.

Author Picture
First Name
Elizabeth
Last Name
Bowen, Full name Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen
Birth Date
1899
Death Date
1973
Bio

Anglo-Irish Novelist, Short-Story Writer