ELIZABETH BOWEN, Irish novelist (d. 1973); Like the outlines of her own life, the novels of Elizabeth Bowen reflect marriage at the center of a woman’s life, with the love between women a primal need in adolescence and in widowed middle age. Her earliest novel, The Hotel (1928), is about the friendship between a young woman and a middle-aged widow. The character of the younger woman is clearly autobiographical.
After her own husband’s death, Bowen returned to this theme, switching roles. Late in her career, the novelist declared that she could find nothing “unnatural” in love between women. Her writing, she said, was “a substitute for something I have been born without — a so-called formal relation to society.”