Friday, 10 September 2010

On this day...

American poet Hilda Doolittle, more commonly known as H.D., was born in 1886. The daughter of a University of Pennsylvania professor, H.D. attended a Quaker school in her youth, meeting poet Ezra Pound at the age of 15. Pound was to have a significant influence on her life, presenting her with a book of love poetry entitiled 'Hilda's Book' in 1905, and eventually becoming engaged to her two years later. However, due to her father's displeasure, the engagement was broken off, and H.D. began her literary career, publishing stories in the local church paper. Following a journey to England, she showed her recent works to an impressed Pound, who formed, with Richard Aldington, 'the three original Imagists'. They set out their aims:
  • Direct treatment of the 'thing' whether subjective or objective.
  • To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation.
  • As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of a metronome
H.D. later married Aldington and they had a child together, but the couple became estranged, leading to her having numerous affairs with both men and women. The remainder of H.D.'s life became an entanglement writing, relationships, turmoil, leading her to visit and befriend Siigmund Freud, becoming his patient in a bid to better understand herself. Influenced heavily by Japanese and Classical motifs, H.D.'s best known works include 'HERmione' and translations of dramatists such as Euripides. H.D. died in 1961 at the age of 75.

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