Elizabeth Bowen

(1899_1973 / Dublin)

Elizabeth Bowen Quotes

  • ''... artists were intended to be an ornament to society. As a society in themselves they are unthinkable.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 8, by Victoria Glendinning (1979). In a letter to the author Charles Ritchie, her lover, written during the 1940s.
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  • ''All my life I have said, "Whatever happens there will always be tables and chairs"—and what a mistake.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 8, by Victoria Glendinning (1979). In a 1940 letter to the novelist Virginia Woolf, upon learning that the Woolfs' London home had been destroyed in the World War II "blitz."
  • ''Almost everyone admits to hunger during the Opera.... Hunger is so exalting that during a last act you practically levitate.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 7, by Victoria Glendinning (1979). Said in 1947.
  • ''Raids are slightly constipating.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 8, by Victoria Glendinning (1979). In a letter to her friend, Noreen Colley Butler, dated September 24, 1940, referring to the air raids on London during the World War II "blitz," which had begun the previous month. Butler was in Ireland.
  • ''[A writer] should try not to be too far, personally, below the level of his work.''
    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. 5, by Victoria Glendinning (1979).
  • ''I think the main thing, don't you, is to keep the show on the road.''
    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). On being asked by television interviewer James Mossman, near the end of her life, "what her feelings were about aging—and, by implication, about death." (Soon afterward, Mossman committed suicide.).
  • ''Ireland is a great country to die or be married in.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. From Bowen's Court (1964). As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 1, by Victoria Glendinning (1979). The Anglo-Irish novelist, born in Dublin, was married in Northamptonshire, England, and died in Hythe, England. She was buried in Ireland near her father.
  • ''Through the particular, in wartime, I felt the high-voltage current of the general pass.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), British novelist, story writer, essayist, and memoirist; born in Ireland. As quoted in Elizabeth Bowen, ch. 8, by Victoria Glendinning (1979). Written during the 1940s, about having lived in London during World War II.
  • ''Sport and death are the two great socializing factors in Ireland ...''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), Irish author; relocated in England. Bowen's Court, ch. 5 (1942).
  • ''Fantasy is toxic: the private cruelty and the world war both have their start in the heated brain.''
    Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), Irish author; born in Ireland. Bowen's Court, afterword (1942).

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