Show Less
Restricted access

Greece in British Women's Literary Imagination, 1913–2013


Edited By Eleni Papargyriou, Semele Assinder and David Holton

Greece in British Women’s Literary Imagination, 1913–2013 offers a comprehensive overview of British female writing on Greece in the twentieth century and beyond. Contributors cover a vast array of authors: Rose Macaulay, Jane Ellen Harrison, Virginia Woolf, Ann Quin, Dorothy Una Ratcliffe, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Pym, Olivia Manning, Mary Stewart, Victoria Hislop, Loretta Proctor and Sofka Zinovieff formed special ties with Greece and made it the focus of their literary imagination. Moving from Bloomsbury to Mills & Boon, the book offers insight into the ways romantic literature has shaped readers’ perceptions about Greece. Why have female authors of such diverse backgrounds and literary orientations been attracted by a country burdened by its past and troubled by its present? What aspects of the country do they choose to highlight? Are female perceptions of Greece different from male ones? The book examines these and many more exciting questions. Given its focus and diversity, it is addressed to audiences in English and Greek studies, Classical reception, European modernism, cultural studies and popular fiction, as well as to non-academic English-speaking readers who have an interest in Greece.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access

4. Olivia Manning and the Longed-for City (Deirdre David)


← 66 | 67 →

4.  Olivia Manning and the Longed-for City


“We faced the sea, Knowing until the day of our return, we would be exiles from a country not our own.”1 Olivia Manning, “Written in the third year of the war.”

In August 1945, British Vogue published an essay by the Anglo–Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen about the peacetime return to houses requisitioned by the Army during the war: “All over Europe, people are going home,” she begins. “Gates, or doors in walls, are being pushed back on their rusty hinges, paths hacked through overgrown courts or gardens. Shutters are being taken down, fires are lit, and rusty water begins to trickle out of the taps. As an organism, the house comes back to life slowly: like the people returning to it, it seems dazed.” These dazed house-owners, Bowen writes, will find unfamiliar smells, books displaced, or upside-down—everywhere signs of “alien occupation.” Then in an imaginative restoration of domestic harmony, she predicts that linen cupboards will be filled with freshly laundered sheets and towels, furniture will be shunted back into place, and the Aga once again will give out its comforting warmth (Bowen 2008: 131).

Bowen imagines, of course, the return home of a reasonably privileged family, one that lived in a prewar England where villages fêtes took place under striped marquees and the local gentry pronounced judgement on the best marrows and the...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.