Winner of the Rose Mary Crawshay Award for 2004 Shortlisted for the 2004 British Academy Book Prize Elizabeth Bowen is one of the finest writers of the twentieth century. She is also one of the strangest. In this authoritative introduction to her life and work, Maud Ellmann teases out Bowen's strangeness through close readings informed by historical, psychoanalytic, and deconstructive methods of interpretation. She contextualises Bowen's work in the Irish and modernist traditions to investigate connections between her life and writing; her conflicts and complicities with other Irish, British, and European writers; her negotiations with contemporary history, and with the long decline of the Anglo-Irish Protestant ascendancy; her peculiar take on gender and sexuality; her hallucinatory treatment of objects, particularly furniture and telephones; and the surprising ways in which her writing pre-empts and in some cases confounds the literary theories brought to bear upon it. Features: *Maud Ellmann is a distinguished critic who writes with great elegance and critical insight. *Provides a lucid demonstration of psychoanalytic modes of reading and an enriched understanding of Bowen's life and times. *Provides original readings of all the main novels and short stories. *Identifies the key motifs associated with Bowen's strange fiction, for example, her preoccupation with houses and furniture. *Suitable background reading not only for those interested in twentieth-century fiction and women's writing, but for the literary critic, theorist and historian.