In SEVEN WINTERS Elizabeth Brown recalls with endearing candour her family and her Dublin childhood as seen through the eyesof a child who could not read till she was seven and who fed her imagination only on sights and sounds. BOWEN'S COURT describes the history of one Anglo-Irish family in County Cork from the Cromwellian settlement until 1959, when the author, the last of the Bowens, was forced to sell the house she loved. With the mastery skill that is also the hallmark of her novels she reviews ten generations of Bowens as representative of a class - the Protestant Irish gentry. Their lives were ones of fanatical commitment to property, lawsuits, formidable matriachs, violent conflicts, hunting, drinking and breeding, self-destructive and self-sustaining fantasies. . .
About the Author
Elizabeth Bowen was born in Dublin in 1899, the only child of an Irish lawyer and landowner. She was educated at Downe House School in Kent. Her book Bowen's Court (1942) is the history of her family and their house in County Cork, and Seven Winters (1943) contains reminiscences of her Dublin childhood. In 1923 she married Alan Cameron, who held an appointment with the BBC and who died in 1952. She travelled a good deal, dividing most of her time between London and Bowen's Court, which she inherited.
Elizabeth Bowen is considered by many to be one of the most distinguished novelists of the twentieth century. Her first book, a collection of short stories, Encounters, appeared in 1923, followed by another, Ann Lee's, in 1926. The Hotel (1927) was her first novel, and was followed by The Last September (1929), Joining Charles (1929), another book of short stories, Friends And Relations (1931), To The North (1932), The Cat Jumps (short stories, 1934), The House In Paris (1935), The Death Of The Heart (1938), Look at All Those Roses (short stories, 1941), The Demon Lover (short stories, 1945), The Heat Of The Day (1949), Collected Impressions (essays, 1950), The Shelborne (1951), A World Of Love (1955), A Time In Rome (1960), Afterthought (essays, 1962), The Little Girls (1964), A Day in the Dark (1965) and her last book Eva Trout (1969).
She was awarded the CBE in 1948, and received honorary degrees from Trinity College, Dublin in 1949, and from Oxford University in 1956. In the same year she was appointed Lacy Martin Donnelly Fellow at Bryn Mawr College in the United States. The Royal Society of Literature made her a Companion of Literature in 1965. Elizabeth Bowen died in 1973.
From contemporary documents, family records, legend, Elizabeth Bowen has reconstructed the biography of her ancestors, and of Bowen's Court, Cork County, Ireland. Care, affection and reverence have gone into this recreation of generations typical of their times and their class, Anglo-Irish gentry of means and traditions. Exclusive in interest as it may be, much of it is rewarding reading, even beyond the fine portraiture and tasteful writing. Behind the personal record is a record of Ireland over several centuries, the perpetual, persistent struggle for freedom, the great religious controversies, the famine, etc. Outstanding in a long list of Bowens were three, - Henry I, whose apparition was to haunt his wife and who won the land by a hawk's flight; Henry III, who built the grandly conceived, bare, Italianate house; Henry VI, her grandfather, a forceful hard man. A fine piece of work, somewhat specialized in appeal. (Kirkus Reviews)
Number Of Pages: 544
Published: 27th May 1999
Publisher: Random House
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 13.1 x 3.7
Weight (kg): 0.38