Intimate letters show that the obsessions which filled Elizabeth Bowen’s novels were drawn from her own life

She is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, an Anglo-Irish novelist and celebrated intellectual who hung out with the Bloomsbury set and wrote a masterpiece about the second world war.

Now, a set of extraordinary, previously unpublished letters from Elizabeth Bowen – author of The Heat of the Day – sheds new light on the author’s “obsession” with love triangles and motherless children in her fiction. The letters date from 1933, when Bowen, then 33, embarks on a love affair with the academic Humphry House, then 24, after she is invited to an all-male luncheon at Wadham College, Oxford.

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