Lucy Ferriss on Girlhood and Innocence in The Death of the Heart
In Conversation with Catherine Nichols on the Lit Century Podcast
Welcome to Lit Century: 100 Years, 100 Books. Combining literary analysis with an in-depth look at historical context, host Catherine Nichols chooses one book for each year of the 20th century, and—along with special guests—takes a deep dive into a hundred years of literature.
Author Lucy Ferriss and host Catherine Nichols discuss Elizabeth Bowen’s 1938 novel The Death of the Heart. They discuss the unique narrator—16-year-old Portia, almost unimaginably innocent and stubborn about refusing to learn the hard lessons of life—and whether her demands are reasonable within the world of the book, or the actual world.
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Lucy Ferriss is the author of eleven books, including her latest collection, Foreign Climes: Stories, which received the Brighthorse Books Prize; and the 2022 re-release of her novel, The Misconceiver. Other recent work includes the 2015 novel A Sister to Honor, as well as essays and short fiction in American Scholar, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Forthcoming in 2023 is a book of essays from Wandering Aengus Press, Meditations on a New Century, as well as Christina Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children, a monograph in Ig Publishing’s Bookmarked series. She is Writer in Residence Emerita at Trinity College.
Catherine Nichols is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in many places, including Jezebel, Aeon, and Electric Literature. She lives in Brooklyn.