Herself Defined (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Interest in the work of poet and novelist H. D. has grown dramatically since her death in 1961, as demonstrated by the posthumous publication of several works she left in manuscript, a new edition of her collected poems, and the appearance of several important articles and at least two full-length critical studies. It is clearly time for the kind of comprehensive, carefully researched biography Barbara Guest has written, and this book should be an invaluable resource for generations of students of H. D.’s work. Guest, herself a poet and artist, had the full cooperation of H. D.’s daughter, Perdita Schaffner, and access to many hitherto private letters and documents, as well as the assistance of a number of her subject’s acquaintances, including the biographer’s first husband, Stephen Guest; writer May Sarton, who met H. D. in London in the 1930’s and corresponded with her later; Silvia Dobson, a close friend to the poet from 1934 to her death; and Dr. Erich Heydt, the psychiatrist who was both her doctor and her confidant at the Küsnacht sanatorium in Switzerland where she spent much of her last years.
Guest’s book provides a fascinating portrait of an important segment of twentieth century cultural society as well as of one of its most enigmatic figures. H. D.’s path intersected at one time or another with the lives of many of the major writers and artists of the period—Ezra Pound and the Imagists, members of the Bloomsbury Group, the...
(The entire section is 2475 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Christian Science Monitor. LXXVI, April 6, 1984, p. B9.
Library Journal. CIX, March 15, 1984, p. 579.
Ms. XIII, July, 1984, p. 16.
The New York Review of Books. XXXI, March 29, 1984, p. 15.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXIX, March 11, 1984, p. 7.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXIV, November 18, 1983, p. 66.
Time. CXXIII, January 16, 1984, p. 71.
Virginia Quarterly Review. LX, Summer, 1984, p. 89.
Vogue. CLXXIV, January, 1984, p. 60.
Women’s Review of Books. I, May, 1984, p. 13.
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