Date of Award

5-20-2012

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Wendy Moffat

Language

English

Abstract

Critical reception of modernist writer, Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), has included a series of gaps—negative spaces that miss an interaction or dialogue between H.D.’s life and art, her poetry and her cultural moment, and her writing and her readers. In response, I study H.D. as an epistolary poet: a poet whose letter-writing influences her poetry and whose poetry demonstrates an epistolary awareness. H.D.’s wartime poems in Trilogy and her correspondence with friend and literary advisor, Norman Holmes Pearson, share three stylistic features of epistolarity: reliance on friendship and personal connection, attention to time and place, and expectation of an intellectual and emotional response from the reader. Each of these features attempts to reconcile a sense of fragmentation or separation: the physical separation between correspondents, the psychological and cultural rupture of war, and the challenges of conveying meaning through written language.

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