Professor Allan Hepburn, a noted scholar of literary modernism and head of English at McGill, spoke to the University of Toronto’s Department of English on Elizabeth Bowen’s Autobiographies last December. His talk was entitled, “A Young Writer Grown Old: Elizabeth Bowen’s Autobiographies.” Listen here:
Professor Hepburn included the following abstract for his talk:
Autobiography is a record of ageing. Elizabeth Bowen never wrote an autobiography per se, but she thought a great deal about the relation between age and writing, especially in short publicity blurbs that she was required to write by her publishers and in a late-life essay called ‘Pictures and Conversations.’ For Bowen, writing was a way to be grown-up. To conceive of writing in this fashion is to be always belated. In her commentaries on autobiography, Bowen wonders if writing enables maturity or destines the writer to a perpetual naïveté.
Allan Hepburn is Professor and Chair of the Department of English at McGill University. He is the author of Intrigue: Espionage and Culture and Enchanted Objects: Visual Art in Contemporary Fiction He has edited three volumes of stories, essays, and radio broadcasts by Elizabeth Bowen. He is currently writing a book about faith and British culture between 1939 and 1962.