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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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Words in the Dark: The Demon Lover and Other Stories (1945)

Words in the Dark: The Demon Lover and Other Stories (1945)

(p.147) 7 Words in the Dark: The Demon Lover and Other Stories (1945)
Elizabeth Bowen

Neil Corcoran (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a reading of Bowen's collection of Second World War short stories, The Demon Lover and Other Stories, proposing it as a book of unhappy returns. Studies of dislocation, the stories have their Anglo-Irish element, even though they are set mainly in the London of the Blitz. The chapter also considers matters of literary allusion and reference, as well as issues of gender together with sexual and social disruption. The chapter concludes with a lengthy reading of the figure of the apparently supernatural ghost in one of Bowen's greatest short stories, The Demon Lover, suggesting an influence from T. S. Eliot, an affinity with William Golding, and an alliance with Freud's conception of the ‘uncanny’. Thus, in various ways the story is the representation of crisis.

Keywords:   Anglo-Irish, Blitz, allusion, gender, sexual, supernatural, uncanny, Golding, Eliot, The Demon Lover

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