Autobiography Barbara Guest Herself Defined

ISBN 13: 9780002723121

Herself Defined

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9780002723121: Herself Defined

Herself Defined; The Poet H.D. and Her World, hardcover, Very Good, 1st Edition. Thick Royal 8vo. xv, 360pp. Profuse illustrations. Very good clean tight sound square, no bookplate or inscriptions. In bright gilt lettered black cloth and unclipped coloured portrait pictorail dustwrapper.

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Review:

Far preferable to Janice S. Robinson's H.D. (1982), poet Guest's critical biography of Hilda Doolittle - "H.D." - is continually clear-eyed, closely contextual, and attentive to H.D.'s striving works ("a vital background composed of limited organisms"). The landmarks of H.D.'s life here become a series of pirouettes in the small space of hyper-artistic consciousness - the posturings, the revelations, the achievements. There's full, thoughtful discussion of: the early love affair with Ezra Pound, while still in Pennsylvania; his European molding of Hilda into "H.D., imagiste"; her au courant self-definition as a Greek goddess (in that milieu, "people enjoyed long conversations about purity and simplicity, their eyes fastened on the heavens where dwelt the Greek constellations"); her linkup with rich and nurturing Bryher; her many male lovers (D. H. Lawrence, Richard Aldington, and Cecil Gray, who sired H.D.'s daughter); her analyses with Havelock Ellis, then Freud. And Guest also willingly deals with H.D.'s poetry and prose - without divorcing it from such personal issues as H.D.'s physical beauty, her neuroticism, and her money matters. (Guest judges H.D.'s best prose to be that of the 1950s - especially Helen in Egypt, written when H.D. was past 60.) Occasionally, it's true, Guest's evocative, allusive prose takes a jazzy or cutesy false step. ("Like Mary Poppins arriving by umbrella from another world, the Quaker lady from London, Harriet Weaver, appeared. . . .") But such slips don't detract much from the shrewd literary/psychological/social portrait here - with an H.D. who truly comes across as the distinctive, rare cultural phenomenon she was: the tangent that illuminates the center by its small, off-angled light. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Guest, Barbara
Published by HarperCollins Distribution Services
ISBN 10: 0002723123 ISBN 13: 9780002723121
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