Bowen's recesses: from realism to inter-objectivity

Johnson, Laurie ORCID: (2019) Bowen's recesses: from realism to inter-objectivity. In: Elizabeth Bowen: theory, thought and things. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 127-144. ISBN 978-1-4744-5864-1


This chapter re-orients consideration of realist elements in Bowen’s short stories by framing readings according to a series of 'recesses'. The first is as a building feature designed to conceal and display, which frames a discussion of the status of 'things' in Bowen’s writing, that is, the objects that deck out her narratives and become a focus for critical interest in her realism. The second is as a cue for the notion of receding, which I use against claims about consistency in narrative voice in Bowen’s work to argue instead that Bowen’s 'voice' can be shown increasingly to recede, leaving the subject-position in such doubt as to compel the willing reader to complete the point of view. Finally, 'recess' is used in the sense of suspension or adjournment, against claims that the 'psychological realism' created by Bowen presents a 'transtemporal subjectivity', to argue that agency in Bowen’s narratives becomes, by virtue of the points raised above, suspended, such that 'subjectivity' is itself untenable. The term I will use to describe the coming together of people and things in Bowen’s fictional universe, and indeed in her writings about the world of the blitz, is 'inter-objectivity'.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to file in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Heritage and Culture (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2020 02:54
Last Modified: 30 May 2022 00:31
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bowen, Elizabeth; inter-objectivity; narration; realism; subjectivity; voice
Fields of Research (2008): 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200503 British and Irish Literature
Fields of Research (2020): 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470504 British and Irish literature
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
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