The publication of Encounters in 1923 launched what would become a luminous forty-year writing career that spanned the advent of modernist literature, the Second World War, and the fraught years preceding the political turmoil of “The Troubles” in Ireland. These perfectly compact stories display Elizabeth Bowen’s uncanny ability to represent un-belonging, dispossession, and the fragility of selfhood. With astonishing literary adroitness and psychological acuity, she depicts the comedy of British class society, the fracturing of external perception, the pervasive influence of suppressed sexuality, and the abiding force of adolescent epiphanies. Her deft use of language to convey the interior atmosphere of her characters’ lives renders these tales as moving as they are timeless.
Elizabeth Bowen was one of the most important Irish writers of the 20th century. Widely acknowledged to be a master practitioner of her craft, she was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 1948 and received honorary degrees from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1949 and Oxford University in 1956. Along with dozens of stories and various works of nonfiction, she wrote ten novels, including The Last September (1929), The Death of the Heart (1938), and The Heat of the Day (1949).
“Her imaginative power to envision a scene is almost hallucinatory.”
—Eudora Welty, The New York Times Book Review
“Bowen’s stories show the awesome capabilities of the English language and the surprise and mystery of the human soul.”
—Anne Tyler, The New Republic
“Bowen’s stories are novels that have been split open like rocks and reveal the glitter of the naked crystals which have formed them.”
—V.S. Pritchett, Vogue
“Bowen had an eye as sharp as Henry James’s, a wonderfully shrewd yet accommodating sensibility, and a sublime literary style.”
—John Banville, The Irish Times
A handsomely produced edition of the stories that launched the forty-year career of Elizabeth Bowen, “as unsparing and quietly devastating a writer as exists in English” (Sadie Stein, The Paris Review). Includes a biographical note about the author.
Price: $11.00 (paperback) | $2.99 (ebook)
Pages: 120 pages
Book dimensions: 5.25 x 0.3 x 8 inches
Published: August 15, 2019