Mysterious Kor Background

Mysterious Kor Background

Mysterious Kor, written between 1941 and 1944, contains traces of Elizabeth Bowen's biography. She was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1899 but spent her childhood in Dublin and at Bowen Court, the family home in Cork, England. Bowen was 13 when her mother died. With her father suffering a breakdown, she was taken to Kent. She divided her adult life between romantic Protestant, Georgian Dublin and prosaic England. Due to her Anglo-Irish background, she developed the ability to portray typical and at times exaggerated English characters, respecting their classical impersonality and good form with an aristocratic touch that is even maintained in the direst of circumstances.

In 1923 she married the educationalist and BBC administrator Alan Cameron; however, several biographers report that the marriage was never consummated, and she engaged in a number of affairs. Following the death of her father in 1930 she inherited Bowen's Court, where she met with many writers, including Virginia Woolf, Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers, Iris Murdoch, and the historian Veronica Wedgwood.

In 1935, Bowen and her husband moved to Regents Park, London. During World War II she worked for the Ministry of Information as a journalist, but was also an air-raid warden. She must have spent many nights out on the streets of London, where she carefully observed her surroundings, leading to the eerie description of the city in Mysterious Kor. Her work during the London Blitz is a pinnacle of English war literature. She subsequently was awarded the CBE in 1948.

When in 1947 the BBC asked her about a book that had most affected her in their formative years, she quoted She written by Rider Haggard that she had read at the age of 12. She was fascinated by the power of the pen, which led her to become a writer later on. Lines of the poem She, which is a response to novel, are directly referenced in Mysterious Kor. Moreover, Bowen, just like Pepita, also compared Kor in She with London directly, only to be disappointed by reality, which is the major theme of her short story Mysterious Kor.

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