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The Uncanny House in Elizabeth Bowen’s Fiction

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Olena Lytovka

The book focuses on the uncanny in the domestic space of Elizabeth Bowen’s fiction. Providing a psychoanalytic reading of selected works it aims to examine the image of the house in Bowen’s prose and to analyse its uncanniness in relation to the characters’ identity.
In her book, Olena Lytovka focuses on an important aspect of Elizabeth Bowen’s fiction – the motif of the uncanny house. By applying the Freudian notion of the unheimlich to the analysis of selected novels and short stories, Lytovka demonstrates how the traumatic experience of loss is mirrored in the characters’ perception of the domestic space as uncanny. The uncanny, she argues, is a reflection of the psychological condition of the perceiving mind in the state of crisis rather than the quality of the space. This insightful and well-researched study is a valuable contribution to Bowen criticism and will be relevant to literary scholars and students alike. ( Anna Kędra-Kardela, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin)

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Abbreviations ..........................................................................................................9 Introduction ...........................................................................................................11 Chapter 1. The Uncanny in Fiction ..........................................................15 1. The Concept of the Uncanny ............................................................................15 1.1 In the Wake of Jentsch and Freud ...............................................................15 1.2 From Gothic Spectre to Modern Anxiety ..................................................19 2. The Chronotope of the Uncanny ................................................................24 2.1 The Uncanny in the City Space ....................................................................26 2.2 The Uncanny in the Domestic Space ..........................................................27 2.3 Uncanny Objects .............................................................................................30 3. The Uncanny and the Self .....................................................................................31 3.1 Identity Disintegration...................................................................................31 3.2 The Place of Memory and Memory of Place .............................................33 3.3 The Uncanny as a Post-Traumatic Effect .....................................................34 Chapter 2. “Homeliness Uprooted”: Oppressive Abodes in Elizabeth Bowen’s Novel The House in Paris and Selected Short Stories .............39 1. Domestic Space in Bowen .................................................................................39 1.1 Semi-Reality of Bowen’s Houses ..................................................................41 1.2 Time and Narration: The Uncanny Return ...............................................46 1.2.1 The Epiphanic “Now” ...........................................................................48 1.2.2 In Search of the Lost Time ..............................................................52 62. Resisting Domesticization: The Uncanny House and Marriage ..................................................................55 Chapter 3. “Suffering from Reminiscences”: Memory and Trauma in Elizabeth Bowen’s Novel The Death of the Heart and Selected Short Stories .....................................................63 1. The Uncanny Aftereffect ....................................................................................63 1.1 Silence, Darkness and Solitude.....................................................................64 1.2 Landscape and Character ..............................................................................67 2. The Burden of Memory .........................................................................................72 2.1 The Uncanny Reentry of the Past ................................................................72 2.2 Disintegrating Homelessness .......................................................................75 3. Reality in a Dream or a Dream-like Reality....................................................79 3.1 The Interpretation of Dreams.......................................................................79 3.2 Waking from Reality ...............................................................................83 4. The Shadowy Other in Bowen’s Short Fiction ................................................86 Chapter4. The Spectre of the Big House in Elizabeth Bowen’s Novel A World of Love and...

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