H. D. (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: The works of H. D., the first great modernist poet, formed the true core of Ezra Pound’s Imagist movement and exercised an extraordinary influence on modern poetics. She explored images taken from classical mythology from a profoundly feminine and personal perspective in spare, taut poems.
Hilda Doolittle—better known by the nickname “H. D.,” given her by Ezra Pound—was born September 10, 1886, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, into a world of mystical pietism. Her father was a noted astronomer, her mother was artistic and musical, and the family as a whole was deeply involved in the social and religious life of Bethlehem, stronghold of the Moravian Brotherhood. The profound and eccentric Christianity of Moravianism was to remain an interest of H. D.’s throughout her life. In 1895, the Doolittle family moved to Philadelphia, leaving the close-knit world of the Brotherhood for the more cosmopolitan academic sphere: H. D.’s father became Flower Professor of Astronomy and founder of the Flower Observatory at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1901, H. D. met Ezra Pound, who was then a student at the university. She was fifteen and he was barely a year older, but he already cut a striking figure in his romantic green robe with his green eyes and golden hair. H. D. herself had, in the words of William Carlos Williams, “a loose-limbed beauty.” The relationship between H. D....
(The entire section is 2207 words.)
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