About this book

​This revelatory new work sets the life of one of the foremost writers of fiction in the 20th-century in its several contexts including her busy life in literary London, and her experiences during the Blitz (when she was an ARP Warden).

The author is a leading scholar noted for her work on Irish fiction, nation, women, and gender.

Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973) was born in Dublin into an Anglo-Irish family of Welsh extraction, which had settled in Cork in the 17th century. She inherited the ancestral house, as she recounted in Bowen’s Court (1942). She then lived in a succession of southern English seaside resorts. She was briefly an art student in London and then began publishing her acclaimed stories and novels.

Living overlooking Regent’s Park she became a prominent figure who made a large circle of literary friends including Virginia Woolf, Cyril Connolly, Iris Murdoch, and Lord David Cecil. She was an accomplished and popular hostess, and a witty public speaker. Despite these commitments her output and her studies of relationships were considerable, intellectually ambitious, highly personal, and unrelenting.

Her last years were spent in Hythe, Kent, where she died.

About the author
Heather Ingman is Visiting Research Fellow in the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, Trinity College, the University of Dublin and was, until her retirement, Adjunct Professor in the School of English, TCD where she taught courses on Irish writing and modernist women’s fiction. Her most recent publications include Strangers to Themselves: Ageing in Irish Writing (Palgrave 2018), Irish Women’s Fiction from Edgeworth to Enright (Irish Academic Press, 2013), A History of the Irish Short Story (Cambridge University Press, 2009), and Twentieth-Century Fiction by Irish Women: Nation and Gender (Ashgate, 2007), Elizabeth Bowen,  (Key Irish Women Writers series, EER, 2021). She is co-editor, with Clíona Ó Gallchoir, of A History of Modern Irish Women’s Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2018).  


​"According to Proust, every reader is, while reading, a reader of her own self. In her reading of Elizabeth Bowen, one of Ireland's most engaging writers, Heather Ingman has taken to heart such an observation. Beginning with Knockdrin, her husband's Big House in Ireland, and including chapters on mental instability, education in Southern England, adoption of an abandoned child in Ecuador, an academic career in Britain and Ireland, and the trauma of the recent pandemic, what she has given us is a powerful image of a Bowen-inspired patchwork quilt that stays with us long after the book has been put down." - Professor David Pierce.

A Modern Literary Life

Elizabeth Bowen, A Memoir

​Heather Ingman

ISBN 9781915115201  HB   £39.99  Order

​ISBN 9781915115218  eB   £19.99   Order

​229 x 152 mm. 218 pp.

Available November 2023


Edward Everett Root Publishers Co. Ltd.