Cover image for
The death of the heart
Bowen, Elizabeth, 1899-1973.

First Modern Library edition.
Physical Description:
418 pages ; 19 cm
Pub Date:
Modern Library, 1984.



Home Location
Material Type
Shelf Number
Central - Houston Public Library Adult Closed stacks - Ask at desk Book BOWEN

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Elizabeth Bowen's most famous novel, THE DEATH OF THE HEART is a piercing story of innocence betrayed. The heroine is Portia, the product of a blithe, itinerant childhood in second-rate European hotels. Her parents dead, she is stranded in the sophisticated and politely treacherous world of her wealthy half-brother's home in London in the thirties. There she meets Eddie, who is handsome, brash, and charming. To Eddie, Portia is at once child and woman, and he fears her gushing love. To Portia, Eddie is the only reason to be alive. But when Eddie follows Portia to a seaside resort, the flash of a cigarette lighter in a darkened cinema illuminates a stunning romantic betrayal -- and sets in motion one of the most moving and desperate flights of the heart in modern literature.As she deftly and delicately exposes the cruelty that lurks behind the polished surfaces of conventional society, Elizabeth Bowen reveals herself as a masterful novelist -- one who combines a sense of humor with a devastating gift for divining human motivations.

Author Notes

Elizabeth Bowen, distinguished Anglo-Irish novelist, was born in Dublin in 1899, traveled extensively, lived in London, and inherited the family estate-Bowen's Court, in County Cork. Her account of the house, Bowen's Court (1942), with a detailed fictionalized history of the family in Ireland through three centuries, has charm, warmth, and insight. Seven Winters is a fragment of autobiography published in England in 1942. The "Afterthoughts" of the original edition are critical essays in which she discusses and analyzes, among others, such literary figures as Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, Katherine Mansfield, Anthony Trollope, and Eudora Welty. Bowen's stories, mostly about people of the British upper middle class, portray relationships that are never simple, except, perhaps, on the surface. Her concern with time and memory is a major theme. Beautifully and delicately written, her stories, with their oblique psychological revelations, are symbolic, subtle, and terrifying. A Time in Rome (1960) is her brilliant evocation of that city and its layered past.

In 1948, Bowen was made a Commander of the British Empire.

Bowen died in 1973.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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