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Elizabeth BowenThe Enforced Return$
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Neil Corcoran

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198186908

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198186908.001.0001

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Discovery of a Lack: The Last September (1928)

Discovery of a Lack: The Last September (1928)

(p.39) 2 Discovery of a Lack: The Last September (1928)
Elizabeth Bowen

Neil Corcoran (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a reading of Bowen's novel, The Last September, set during the Troubles in Ireland in the 1920s, taking stock of some historical accounts of the period, notably Peter Hart's. It understands forms of ellipsis and aporia to be characteristic of Bowen's structures and style, and interprets them as, in part, a response to a cataclysmic contemporary history. It interprets Bowen's attitude to the Anglo-Irish, defining her particular type of social comedy. It focuses on Bowen's interest in the type represented by the novel's heroine, Lois: the intelligent, bored ingénue, who figures again and again in her work. It also explores the ways in which recurrent thoughts of the dead may be read as a further mode of ‘ghostliness’ in Bowen.

Keywords:   Troubles, Hart, ellipsis, Anglo-Irish, social comedy, ingénue, the dead, The Last September

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