Elizabeth Bowen, The Little Girls

Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

Described as the most Proustian of Elizabeth Bowen’s novels,

The Little Girls

trips and misleads its readers, from its disingenuous title onward. With a structure reminiscent of

The House in Paris

(1934), this penultimate novel of Bowen’s career begins and ends with three old women as protagonists, with a middle section revisiting a key moment in their past as school-age friends on the eve of the First World War. Perhaps “The Old Ladies” struck Bowen as a less appealing title, but it is more likely that her choice to focus on the childhood incarnation of her characters signals the severe case of arrested development all three women suffer from, to varying degrees and for different reasons.

Bowen herself described The Little Girls as a comedy, and numerous critics have concurred.

806 words

Citation: Brassard, Genevieve. "The Little Girls". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 June 2008 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=333, accessed 18 July 2024.]

333 The Little Girls 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.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.