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The Demon Lover

The Christmas Ghost Story

24'19"

MoLI continues its annual Christmas Ghost Story tradition with Elizabeth Bowen’s ‘The Demon Lover’ (1945), performed in its entirety by Derbhle Crotty.

Mrs Kathleen Drover returns to her dusty, abandoned Kensington home to gather some of her family’s forgotten belongings. Set in London during World War II, the city is eerily vacant, as families like her own have been evacuated to the countryside to escape the bombings of the Blitz. Nevertheless, Kathleen experiences the distinct and unsettling feeling of being watched. When she discovers a mysterious letter from her former lover, a soldier killed in World War I, memories of their brief courtship and his cold, controlling manner overwhelm her.

Is the letter a cruel joke? Could it be a fabrication of Kathleen’s imagination? Or more frighteningly, are the ghosts of her past reckoning upon the present? In this chilling and uncanny tale, Bowen demonstrates her mastery of the ghost story form.

Funding for this recording is supported by Professor Gerardine Meaney and the European Research Council advanced grant, VICTEUR: European Migrants in the British Imagination: Victorian and Neo-Victorian Culture. Research is supported by Dr Katie Mishler and the Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Enterprise Partnership Fellowship grant Mapping Gothic Dublin, in association with MoLI and the UCD Centre for Cultural Analytics. 

Reproduced with permission of Curtis Brown Ltd, London, on behalf of the Literary Executors of the Estate of Elizabeth Bowen. Copyright © Elizabeth Bowen.

Producers   Dr Katie Mishler, Ian Dunphy, Benedict Schlepper-Connolly
Sound   Ian Dunphy
Music   Benedict Schlepper-Connolly

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