Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Elizabeth Bowen Day-"The Jungle"-Irish Short Story Week-3 Day Extension

"The Jungle" by Elizabeth Bowen  (11 pages, 33 minutes as Podcast, 1929)

Resources For the Week

I have decided to keep Irish Short Story Week open for 3 more days, to close out on March 23.  I will be adding two more "theme days".     Day Eight will be dedicated to popular stories by authors best selling books of what can be called "Irish Chick Lit".   (I find the term "Chick Lit" a bit offensive but it is used all over the book blog world so I guess it is an OK term.)    The consensus is that Irish Chick Lit tends to be a bit "darker" than American or British.   Ghost Stories are very big in Ireland and day nine will be dedicated to them.   For sure day ten will be a closeout post of my experiences during the week and there will be a party at Bowen Court!

"Please Join me at Bowen Court March 23, for the
party-always plenty of room for guests-stay a
month if you like"-Elizabeth Bowen

Two or three days later I will do a master post linking up all the posts by the participants.    I give my greatest thanks to those whose who have joined in so far.    I will keep the week open for participants until March 24.
Providence willing, Irish Short Story week will be an annual event.

Irish Short Story Week
Day Seven
Elizabeth Bowen Day

Elizabeth Bowen was born in Dublin Ireland in 1899.   Her ancestors had lived there since about 1651.   Her ancestors moved to Ireland because one of them was a high ranking officer in  the army that Oliver Cromwell sent to reconquer Ireland.   This was a bloody and horrible war for the Irish; death tolls from the war and famines are estimated at between 20 and 50 percent of the people.   Bowen's ancestor was given an Irish manor home and about 5000 acres (and the people on them basically) by Cromwell as a reward for his services.    This makes Bowen the descendant of  people totally hated by  many to this day, the Anglo Irish.   Bowen faced discrimination from the Irish literary community.   Maeve Brennan would not even read her work, for example.

"The Jungle" is considered one of Bowen's essential short stories by Victoria Glendinning.   It is a brilliant story about teenage girls at an exclusive girl's boarding school.   (Bowen went to such schools.)    Bowen just does a wonderful job capturing the mind of Rachael, one of the girls living there.   We see her develop and shed "best friends forever".   Bowen's account of Rachael's comments on her friends is just perfect.   The undercurrent of sexual attraction between the girls is masterfully done and pretty daring for 1929.

You can listen to a podcast of  this story HERE.   The story is perfectly read by Tessa Hadley, a well known short story writer.   I laughed out loud when she said she thought Bowen a better writer than Woolf.  I do not agree with this but it was so much fun to hear it.

I still have, post Irish Short Story Week, one more post to do on Bowen's short stories.    At that time I may give my thoughts on how and who should read Bowen.  

It is not to late to participate in Irish Short Story Week-there are plenty of stories online and you can even listen to Pod casts if you like-all you have to do is by March 23 post on one Irish Short Story and leave me a comment with the link.   

Mel u


Unknown said...

i like your ideas for the extra days. is _circle of friends_ considered 'Irish chick lit'?

Unknown said...

i like your ideas for the extra days. is _circle of friends_ considered 'Irish chick lit'?

Unknown said...

ps. glad you like the banner! :)and 'a modest proposal' has been one my favorites ever since i understood satire! :)

Mel u said...

Stephanie M Hasty-yes Maeve Binchy does seem to be a "chick lit" author so yes for sure-

*ೃ༄ Jillian said...

I've never tried Elizabeth Bowen! I must, at some point...

I've posted on “Ivy Day in the Committee Room” by James Joyce.

(The post will be live in a couple hours.)


Suko said...

Mal, I'm glad you're extending this challenge for a few extra days. I'm not sure if I will be able to post about another story but at least I can read a few more reviews. I am also skittish about the term Chick lit (I am a Chick, after all, which is better than being a Broad but even so. . .). I will read and add more of your links to my short story link post soon.