Tribute to Freud Critical Context - Essay

Hilda Doolittle

Critical Context

(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

In Tribute to Freud, H.D. brings alive a figure that has dominated much of twentieth century thinking. The book is an indispensable record, too, as it captures Sigmund Freud, seventy-seven years old when H.D. meets him, at the end of his long, prestigious, and controversial life. He is still active, perceptive, crafty, affectionate. While clearly not an academic study of psychoanalysis, Tribute to Freud is a valuable overlay providing a range of illuminating details, from descriptions of Freud’s famous study and horsehair sofa to personal anecdotes about Freud at work.

As a product of H.D.’s eclectic mind, interests, and experience, Tribute to Freud also highlights other central events and important figures of the century. H.D. records the oppressive feeling accompanying the rise of Nazi political power and Jewish persecution in Vienna of the early 1930’s. Among other signs she witnesses, swastikas are chalked outside Freud’s home. Freud is forced to exile himself in 1938 to England, where he died in 1939.

Tribute to Freud reveals valuable information about its author, who, by the time she met Freud, had herself shaped literary history. She lent her signature, “H.D., Imagiste,” and exemplary poems to the Imagist movement of poetry, which flourished early in the second decade of the twentieth century. Those persons whom she reveals in her memoir as inseparable from her psyche are also inseparable...

(The entire section is 435 words.)