The Gift by H.D.: The Complete Text

Jane Augustine, Editor, H, Author University Press of Florida $59.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-8130-1644-3
An often overlooked modernist thinker and poetic innovator (under Pound's heavy influence, she invented the early-20th-century Imagist movement), H.D. was also known for her tendency to write spiritual autobiography. Raised in a Moravian family in Pennsylvania, she worked on this psychologically complex memoir of her childhood in London--to which she expatriated in her early teens--as WWII's bombs rained down. There are some shattering scenes of London during the Blitz as H.D. describes her terror, the calm between raids and her consequent gratefulness for everyday occurrences. The childhood scenes are somewhat obscured by thickets of emotional prose, but H.D. nevertheless evocatively portrays her youthful state of mind and thought, as well as the mystical nature of her belief in--and remembrance of--a lost truth that she is convinced could have changed the world. The book owes much to her spell as apprentice to and analysand of Sigmund Freud: in her notes, H.D. writes, ""In assembling these chapters of The Gift, during, before and after the worst days of the 1941 London Blitz, I let the story tell itself or the child tell it for me."" Editor and annotator Jane Augustine's well-researched scholarly edition restores the text to its full length and includes H.D.'s own notes. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/30/1998
Release date: 12/01/1998
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