Daily Archives for: October 4th, 2021

Orphaned Unostentation: The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen

The Death of the Heart (1938) by Elizabeth Bowen is in many ways a traditional English 1930s novel, and a comedy of manners — the manners of pre-war, upper-middle-class London which Bowen (1899 – 1973) knew well. This analysis of The Death of the Heart is excerpted from Girls in Bloom: Coming of Age in the Mid-20th Century Woman’s Novel  by Francis Booth, reprinted by permission.

The Death of the Heart is a coming-of-age novel, and its heroine, Portia Quayne, undoubtedly belongs in the literary realm of adolescent girls and their sexual experiences.

Portia does, in her way, come of age in the course of the story though she does not have the novel to herself. She is just one of a cast of unappealing characters examined in forensic detail by the witty, sardonic, and ruthless Bowen in this darkly witty chamber piece. Read More→


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