Elizabeth Bowen (June 7, 1899 – February 22, 1973) was an Irish-British novelist and short-story writer best known for fictional works that focused on life in wartime London and relationships among the upper-middle class.
Some have referred to her as the “grande dame” of the modern novel, her work characterized by a conscious, concise style.
Bowen’s work reflects her great interest in “life with the lid on and what happens when the lid comes off.” It examines the innocence of orderly life and irrepressible forces that transforms one’s experience. In her stories and novels, she examines the betrayal and secrets beneath the veneer of respectability.
Most everyone knows what defines a “Pollyanna” — someone who looks at the bright side of things no matter how dire, or who paints an overly optimistic picture of any situation. The 1913 novel Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter is perhaps less familiar now than the lasting expression that grew from its sentimental story.
Pollyanna, subtitled “The glad book,” was incredibly successful from the start, and inspired many adaptations in other media. Though intended as a children’s novel, it appealed to all ages.
Eleven-year-old Pollyanna Whittier, one of a legion of literary orphans, is sent to live with her aunt Polly, an icy spinster. This follows on the trope of another ebullient orphan of that era, Anne Shirley, better known as Anne of Green Gables (1908), who melts the heart of the stereotypical spinster who adopts her. Read More→