Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen (BOH-uhn) was born in Dublin, Ireland, on June 7, 1899. Her parents were Henry Cole Bowen and Florence Isabella Pomeroy (Colley) Bowen. Both of them were Anglo-Irish, giving Elizabeth a Protestant, landowning heritage. Her father, a barrister, inherited Bowen’s Court, which was built in the eighteenth century and in which Elizabeth lived as a young girl. In 1930, upon the death of her father, she inherited the family estate. When Elizabeth was thirteen years old, her mother died. After her father’s health deteriorated, she spent several years living with various relatives. Her mother’s death, her father’s precarious health, and her lack of a permanent, stable home all had a strong impact on the way that Bowen developed, both as a person and as a writer.
Bowen’s education began at Downe House, Kent, England. She also studied at the London County Council School of Art, and she soon began to write short stories. Her first collection, Encounters, was published in 1923. In the same year, she married Alan Charles Cameron, a graduate of Oxford and a World War I veteran. He began a long career in educational administration through his appointment, in 1925, as secretary for education in the city of Oxford.
By 1927, Bowen was an established writer and spent part of each year in one of her three residences: London’s Chelsea section, Bowen’s Court, and a home in Italy. In addition to writing ten novels and several collections of short stories, Bowen lectured and taught in Italy,...
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