Books: Passions in a Darkened Mirror

ELIZABETH BOWEN by Victoria Glendinning. Knopf; 332 pages; $12.50

Author Elizabeth Bowen was born in 1899 and died in 1973. The generous expanse of her life was even greater than the raw dates suggest. Her earliest years were spent in a social system that was virtually indistinguishable from feudalism. She was raised at Bowen's Court, the family home in County Cork, Ireland, on land that had been in Bowen possession since 1653. She spent her last years teaching in American colleges, living in rooms or rented apartments and listening to students worrying about the war in Viet Nam. At the end, her...

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