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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, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Housekeeping and the Fiction of Subjectivity in Eva Trout

Housekeeping and the Fiction of Subjectivity in Eva Trout

(p.165) Chapter 10 Housekeeping and the Fiction of Subjectivity in Eva Trout
Elizabeth Bowen

Jasmin Kelaita

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines how Bowen’s final novel, Eva Trout, amplifies the issue of the domestic and the ‘things’ that build subjective containment and betray non-normative, unstable and difficult narrative subjects, by claiming that Eva Trout is such a subject: difficult and utterly indeterminate. In order to draw on the value-laden potency of ‘home’ for women in fiction the chapter calls upon Bowen’s contemporary, one who might be described as the quintessential author of homelessness, Jean Rhys. Rhys’s novel Good Morning, Midnight (1939) to show how the issue of domestic space becomes paramount to the workings of narrative for women writers and their female protagonists. Unlike Rhys’s protagonist Sasha Jensen, who does not attempt to make any specific space her home but rather moves between rented rooms in a hope for nominal protection, Eva Trout repeatedly attempts to make herself in relation to domestic spaces. Eva is unable to establish a stable domestic existence in accordance with conventional gender expectations. The way that women make homes and, in very material and embodied ways, occupy space is significant in Bowen’s fiction, where objects, ephemera and domestic stability are crucial to the development of character and narrative.

Keywords:   Elizabeth Bowen, Jean Rhys, Home, Objects, Women

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