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The Ghost Story As Female Gothic

Wallace explores nineteenth-century ghost stories written by Elizabeth Gaskell, and later tales by May Sinclair, and Elizabeth Bowen. Using ideas drawn from Modleski and Irigaray she argues that such tales explore how a patriarchal culture represses/buries images of the maternal. She further argues that the ghost story enabled women writers to evade the marriage plots which dominated the earlier Radcliffean Female Gothic, meaning that they could offer a more radical critique of male power, violence and predatory sexuality than was possible in either the realist, or indeed Gothic, novel. Wallace argues that the ghost story functions as the ‘double’ or the ‘unconscious’ of the novel, giving form to what has to be repressed in the longer, more ‘respectable’ form.

Gothic Studies
Irish literary history through Balzac, Sheridan Le Farm, Yeats and Bowen

It is a central thesis that nineteenth-century Ireland went through a series of traumatic processes of modernization, which have been denied and repressed in their aftermath. The mediated presence of Sheridan Le Fanu and Honore de Balzac in the work of W.B. Yeats brings to a head political questions of the utmost gravity, the most notable being Yeats's engagement with fascism. Le Fanu has been persistently aligned with a so-called Irish gothic tradition. The objective in this book is to observe the historical forces inscribed in Le Fanu's distinctive non-affiliation to this doubtful tradition. The book presents a French response to Charles Maturin's gothic work, Melmoth the Wanderer, which is followed by discussion of a triangular pattern linking Balzac, Le Fanu and Yeats. This is followed by an attempt to pay concentrate attention within the texts of Le Fanu's novels and tales, with only a due regard for the historical setting of Le Fanu's The House by the Churchyard. An admirer of Le Fanu's fiction, Elizabeth Bowen adopted some of the stock-in-trade of the ghost story to investigate altered experiences of reality under the blitz. A detailed examination of her The Heat of the Day serves to reopen questions of fixity of character, national identity and historical reflexivity. In this work, the empty seat maintained for the long dead Guy might be decoded as a suitably feeble attempt to repatriate Le Fanu's Guy Deverell from an English to an Irish 1950s setting.

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Treason and betrayal in six modern Irish novels

This book argues that modern Irish history encompasses a deep-seated fear of betrayal, and that this fear has been especially prevalent throughout Irish society since the revolutionary period at the outset of the twentieth century. The author goes on to argue that the novel is the literary form most apt for the exploration of betrayal in its social, political and psychological dimensions. The significance of this thesis comes into focus in terms of a number of recent developments – most notably, the economic downturn (and the political and civic betrayals implicated therein) and revelations of the Catholic Church’s failure in its pastoral mission. As many observers note, such developments have brought the language of betrayal to the forefront of contemporary Irish life. After an introductory section in which he considers betrayal from a variety of religious, psychological and literary perspectives, Gerry Smyth goes on to analyse the Irish experience of betrayal: firstly through a case study of one of the country’s most beloved legends – Deirdre of the Sorrows; and secondly, through extended discussion of six powerful Irish novels in which ideas of betrayal feature centrally - from adultery in James Joyce’s Ulysses, touting in Liam O’Flaherty’s The Informer and spying Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day, through to writing itself in Francis Stuart’s Black List, Section H, murder in Eugene McCabe’s Death and Nightingales and child abuse in Anne Enright’s The Gathering (2007). This book offers a powerful analysis of modern Irish history as regarded from the perspective of some its most incisive minds.

World War in the development of Irish self-consciousness. By this latter term is meant not only a consciousness of being Irish, or of Ireland as a distinct entity, being also a consciousness of the Self as a problematic. Writing privately during the war years, Elizabeth Bowen remarked we are curiously self-made creatures’ and proceeded to characterise herself not only in Irish terms but also

in Dissolute characters

so touchy and treacherous no doubt arises from the suppression of violence.’ 3 If The Heat of the Day is the major achievement of Elizabeth Bowen’s career during the war years and immediately after (1939–49), there is a substantial body of other work, both fiction and non-fiction, with an investigation of the intimate past occupying a prominent position in the latter

in Dissolute characters
Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day (1949)

5 A spy in the house of love: Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day (1949) Nothing cracked my heart until that evening at the stony end of the healing garden when you turned and said, as if remembering a secret known long ago and long forgotten, ‘I love you.’ Brendan Kennelly, The Little Book of Judas, 151 Introduction Even during her own lifetime Elizabeth Bowen was regarded as a writer for whom issues of interpersonal betrayal featured centrally. Her major theme was always (in the words of one of her most evocative titles) ‘the death of the heart’  – the

in The Judas kiss
O’Faoláin and his circle

. Finally, it points to a close study of James Joyce and his writing by O’Faoláin as early as 1931, and an attempt to emulate his work at least stylistically. This is important because Joyce is conspicuous by his absence from The Bell. For example, The Bell contained no obituary for Joyce when he died on 13 January 1941, despite his international fame, and yet O’Faoláin could show the good grace to include an obituary of F.R. Higgins and publicise his memorial fund.8 Although Elizabeth Bowen did publish a biographical sketch of Joyce two months after his death, Joyce

in Rebel by vocation
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The disinherited of literary history

In 1934, the year in which Yeats received the Goethe Plakette from the Oberbürgermeister of Frankfurt, Elizabeth Bowen published a collection of short stories entitled The Cat Jumps. 1 The longest and best known of these tells of a bohemian house-party held in a country house near what is evidently Oxford. The young women go to the party, but are discommoded, even

in Dissolute characters
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Infant care into the peace

contemplates the end of the war. What do they mean here? Does Woolf diminish the importance of events, and disparage the participants, by drawing such parallels? Perhaps, but I want to make the opposite case. For Woolf, what happens in the nursery, to babies and little children, is tremendously important, both for the children themselves and for the whole society. Elizabeth Bowen: ‘Tears, Idle Tears’ I turn now to Woolf’s contemporary, Elizabeth Bowen. Born in 1899 and a teenager during the First World War, Bowen served as a volunteer in a hospital for shell-shocked soldiers

in The silent morning
The trouble with gentrification

which subjects began to absorb and reflect the traces left behind by certain objects – and the post-war, liminal moment when objects began to stake out a more intimate claim on human subjectivity, opening the door for the consumerist ideology which was to define subsequent decades. Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day (1948) will be brought into dialogue with Marghanita Laski’s novella The Victorian Chaise-Longue (1953) to show how both authors were interested in modern negotiations between lost, dazed and traumatised characters and the things with which they

in Mid-century gothic