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This autobiographical novel by the Imagist poet H. D. (1886-1961) is a rare and hallucinatory treasure. In writing HERmione, H. D. returned to a year in her life that was "peculiarly blighted." She was in her early twenties--"a disappointment to her father, an odd duckling to her mother, an importunate, overgrown, unincarnated entity that had no place." She had failed at Bryn Mawr, she felt hemmed in by her family, and she did not yet know what she was going to do with her life. The return from Europe of the wild-haired George Lowndes (Ezra Pound) expanded her horizons but threatened her sense of self. An intense new friendship with Fayne Rabb (Frances Josepha Gregg), an odd girl, brought an atmosphere that made our heroine's hold on everyday reality more tenuous. As Francesca Wade writes in her new introduction, "HERmione is H. D.'s rejoinder to mythic authority: her portrait of an artist groping her way slowly towards self-expression ends with her sexuality and artistic powers awoken, ready to name herself so all the world might know who she is."
A feminist icon as well as a major twentieth-century poet, H. D. (the pen name of Hilda Doolittle, 1886-1961) wrote several volumes of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and was an exquisite translator of classical Greek drama.
Francesca Wade is the author of Square Haunting (2020), a group biography of modernist poet H. D., detective novelist Dorothy L. Sayers, classicist Jane Harrison, economic historian Eileen Power, and author and publisher Virginia Woolf.