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H.D. (Hilda Doolittle)

  • David Seed
Part of the Insights book series (ISI)

Abstract

In 1913 the first three poems were published by ‘H.D., Imagiste’. Pound had attached his famous label, he explained in a letter of 1927, as a promotional tactic: ‘the name was invented to launch H.D. and Aldington’. 1This statement reads disingenuously because, at the time, Pound’s activities on behalf of Imagism formed part of a sustained programme for encouraging experimentation in poetry, and his ‘cautions’ (as he called them), ‘A Few Don’ts’, articulated a direction which that experimentation might take. Pound’s undoubted energy as a publiciser of new work paid off with a vengeance in the case of H.D. because the label ‘imagiste’ stuck long after it had ceased to be applicable to her poetry. More seriously, Pound’s injunctions about poetic expression (‘the natural object is always the adequate symbol’, ‘go in fear of abstractions’, etc.) privileged a critical vocabulary which centred on the concrete, the actual, and the ‘hard’. 2H.D.’s biographer Barbara Guest, for instance, persists in reading the former’s early poems through Pound’s spectacles. Calling her the ‘finest Imagist’, Guest declares that ‘her poetry of this period is always concrete, never abstract’. 3

Keywords

Sacred Grove Collective Voice Sexual Guilt Modernist Ideal Poetic Expression 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    D. D. Paige (ed.), The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound 1907–1941 (London: Faber, 1971) p. 213.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    T. S. Eliot (ed.), Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (London: Faber, 1968) p. 5.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Barbara Guest, Herself Defined: The Poet HD. and her World (London: Collins, 1985) p. 42.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    J. B. Harmer, Victory in Limbo: A History of Imagism, 1908–1917 (London: Secker & Warburg, 1975) p. 62.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Adalaide Morris, ‘The Concept of Projection: H.D’s Visionary Powers’, in Harold Bloom (ed.), H.D.: Modern Critical Views (New York: Chelsea House, 1989) p. 105.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Rachel Blau DuPlessis, H.D.: The Career of that Struggle (Brighton: Harvester Press, 1986) pp. 15–16.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Deborah Kelly Kloepfer, Fishing the Murex Up: Sense and Resonance in H.D.’s Palimpsest’, Contemporary Literature, 27, iv (Winter, 1986) p. 558.Google Scholar
  8. 19.
    Richard Cavendish, The Black Arts (London: Pan, 1969) p. 141.Google Scholar
  9. 23.
    Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy, trans. John W. Harvey (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1959) p. 78.Google Scholar
  10. 27.
    Leon Surette, A Light from Eleusis: A Study of Ezra Pound’s ‘Cantos’ (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979) pp. 221–2.Google Scholar
  11. 30.
    John B. Vickery, The Literary Impact of The Golden Bough’ (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973) pp. 136, 140–2, 152–3.Google Scholar
  12. 31.
    Arthur E. P. B. Weigall, The Paganism in our Christianity (London: Hutchinson, 1928) p. 238.Google Scholar
  13. 32.
    Griselda Ohannesian (ed.), The Gift (London: Virago press, 1984) p. 86.Google Scholar
  14. 33.
    Norman Holmes Pearson, ‘Foreword’, Trilogy (Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1973) p. vii; H.D., Collected Poems, p. 539. Subsequent references to the Trilogy incorporated into the text.Google Scholar
  15. 37.
    From Thomas Hooker’s ‘The Application of Redemption’, in Roy Harvey Pearce (ed.), Colonial American Writing (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969) p. 80.Google Scholar
  16. 41.
    Robert Duncan, Two Chapters from H.D.’, Tri-Quarterly, 12 (1968) p. 97.Google Scholar
  17. 50.
    David Daiches, God and the Poets (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985) p. 159.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editorial Board, Lumiere (Cooperative Press) Ltd 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Seed

There are no affiliations available

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