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Elizabeth BowenTheory, Thought and Things$
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Jessica Gildersleeve and Patricia Juliana Smith

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474458641

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474458641.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 21 April 2021

Tender Ties: Elizabeth Bowen and Habit

Tender Ties: Elizabeth Bowen and Habit

Chapter:
(p.79) Chapter 5 Tender Ties: Elizabeth Bowen and Habit
Source:
Elizabeth Bowen
Author(s):

Ulrika Maude

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474458641.003.0006

This chapter compares Bowen’s depictions of habit to contemporary psychological discourses and its presentation in other works (by, for example, Samuel Beckett), The significance of objects, places and habits in Bowen’s work, she argues, reveals how the narratives present objects and places as so integral to the self that they acquire near sentience, with the capacity to console, pierce or wound. Although Bowen’s ‘characters fasten their fears and desires’ onto objects (Inglesby 312-13), it shows that the objects also have a hold over these emotions, as if they have scarred her characters, leaving their own inscriptions on the nerves and the senses. Bowen’s writing seems to suggest that we bury our intentions in objects, which, although they exist externally, exist for us only to the extent to which they arouse in us volitions, thoughts or emotions.

Keywords:   Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, Habit, Objects, Affect, Place, Modernism

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