Elizabeth Bowen speaks to her lover

“Take it from one of the best living novelists that people’s personalities are not interesting,” she said in a dry voice unlike the voice she uses with me as a rule.  “Except,” she added, when you are in love with them.”

And more from the diary of Charles, the lover:

Would I ever have fallen for her if it hadn’t been for her books?  I very much doubt it.  But now I can’t separate her from her literary self.  It’s as if the woman I ‘love’ were always accompanied by a companion spirit infinitely more exciting and more poetic and more profound than E herself…When it comes to writing, well I had a letter from her the other day so blunderingly expressed, so repetitive, that the least of the characters in one of her books would never have been guilty of it.

That is from Love’s Civil War: Elizabeth Bowen and Charles Ritchie, Letters and Diaries, Their obsessional, thirty-year love affair.

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