Elizabeth Bowen’s fourth novel,

To the North

(1932), is a tragedy; pulled by the “cold pole’s first magnetism”, its characters speed ever closer to the violent impact of their deaths (Bowen 238). The novel reiterates the purposeful direction of tragic fate through the speed of modern transport – cars, trains, aeroplanes – as well as signage and advertising, social mobility, and the passing of time. Bowen contrasts this, however, with the theme of straying. This notion is ‘performed’ in several ways – by, for example, stray people and animals, travel (the search for stra(y)ngeness), and straying from home. It is most clearly demonstrated in the text by aimlessness, a resistance to fate and direction.

To the North

plays on the tropes of the tragic genre, tying them to…

2232 words

Citation: Gildersleeve, Jessica. "To the North". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 April 2008 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=23546, accessed 15 June 2024.]

23546 To the North 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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