Collection of Elizabeth Bowen Reviews Published

A substantial collection of the book reviews written by novelist Elizabeth Bowen has been published by Northwestern University Press. It is entitled The Weight of a World of Feeling¬†and is edited by Allan Hepburn, who previously edited a volume of Bowen’s essays.¬†Bowen was a friend of Evelyn Waugh, who visited her at her home in Ireland in the early 1930s. That visit is mentioned by Bowen in the¬†earlier collection where she¬†recalled that Waugh had rescued her from a bat in her library on that occasion¬†(People, Places and Things: Essays of Elizabeth Bowen, p. 146). According to a review of the new book by Micah Mattix in the Washington Free Beacon, Bowen:

…filed a weekly column for the The Tatler and Bystander, a magazine for ‚Äúthe horse-and-hounds set,‚ÄĚ as Allan Hepburn puts it, between 1941 and 1950, and again between 1954 and 1958. She also wrote regularly for The New Statesman, The Spectator, and The Observer. In reviews on Evelyn Waugh, Anthony Powell, T. S. Eliot, Jean-Paul Sartre, Graham Greene, Aldous Huxley, and many more, her judgments on individual writers and works have, for the most part, stood the test of time. Often they double as direct commentary on the art of the novel or the function of criticism, as the case may be.

According to¬†an online index to the new collection,¬†it contains Bowen’s¬†reviews from the Tatler of at least four of Waugh’s novels: Put Out More Flags, Brideshead Revisited, Officers and Gentlemen¬†and The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold. Other reviews of Waugh’s works may be included in multiple¬†book articles. Moreover, Waugh¬†reviewed at least one of Bowen’s books. As it turns out this was a previous collection of Bowen’s book reviews and other short essays entitled Collected Impressions and published in 1950. Waugh concluded there that her reviews:

represent an active and discerning mind healthily and happily at work. Their scope is as wide as the publishers’ lists. Miss Bowen is unassumingly at ease with the whole of European literature and with most of English and Irish social life. One general impression is that, unlike most of her colleagues, she likes books. (Essays, Articles¬†and Reviews, p. 190)

UPDATE: Although, as originally noted, the contents of¬†Bowen’s book are not available in the Amazon.com or publisher’s listings, a¬†reader has kindly provided a link to a library reference that displays the contents. This is from¬†the library catalogue of the University of California at Riverside. Tip of the hat once again to David Lull.

 

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