Elizabeth Bowen

(1899_1973 / Dublin)

Elizabeth Bowen Quotes

  • ''Pity the selfishness of lovers: it is brief, a forlorn hope; it is impossible.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), Anglo-Irish novelist. The Death of the Heart, pt. 2, ch. 4 (1938).
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  • ''There is no end to the violations committed by children on children, quietly talking alone.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), Anglo-Irish novelist. The House in Paris, pt. 1, ch. 2 (1935).
  • ''Everything is very quiet, the streets are never crowded, and the people one dislikes are out of town.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 8, by Edmund Wilson, who was in turn quoted by Victoria Glendinning (1979). On why she had enjoyed being in London during World War II.
  • ''The innocent are so few that two of them seldom meet—when they do meet, their victims lie strewn around.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. From The Death of the Heart (1938). As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 7, by Victoria Glendinning (1979).
  • ''I suspect victims; they win in the long run.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. From Eva Trout (1968). As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 13, by Victoria Glendinning (1979).
  • ''... often when I write I am trying to make words do the work of line and colour. I have the painter's sensitivity to light. Much (and perhaps the best) of my writing is verbal painting.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 3, by Victoria Glendinning (1979). Written c. 1949.
  • ''... in nine out of ten cases the original wish to write is the wish to make oneself felt ... [ellipsis in source] the non-essential writer never gets past that wish.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. from Why Do I Write? (1948). As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 3, by Victoria Glendinning (1979).
  • ''... I can't see (or feel) the conflict between love and religion. To me they're the same thing.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 13, by Victoria Glendinning (1979). To her lover, the author Charles Ritchie, in the late 1960s.
  • ''... 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.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 2, by Victoria Glendinning (1979). Written in 1946.
  • ''... fate is not an eagle, it creeps like a rat.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. From The House in Paris (1936). As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 13, by Victoria Glendinning (1979).

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