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ELT 43 : 1 2000 awareness be cognizant of what he has done to himself. For there are passages in this correspondence in which Pound seems to be conscious that in the 30s and 40s, having "lost" his "center fighting the world," having become obsessed with the real or imagined conspiracies and injustices he saw all around him, he, like Conrad's Stevie, persisted in manically inscribing circles until something blew up. E. P. Walkiewicz __________________ Oklahoma State University Classical H.D. Eileen Gregory. H.D. and Hellenism: Classic Lines. Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture, 111. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. xii + 321 pp. $59.95 IN HD. and Hellenism: Classic Lines, Eileen Gregory remarks in passing, "Despite her matrilinear model of classical transmission, and despite her erotic and poetic rebelliousness, H.D. has habitual awe for scholarly paternal authorities, for their intelligence, their breadth of learning, their impersonality. Herself unscholarly, she nevertheless took her scholars very seriously." Gregory's book is, in turn, the work of a woman scholar who is prepared to take H.D. very seriously. As such, it brings a new tone, as quiet as it is keen, to the field of H.D. criticism. Gregory places her work squarely along the continuum of feminist argument which, beginning with Susan Stanford Friedman's 1975 essay ("Who Buried H.D.?"), has been so crucial to revived interest in the poet. But Classic Lines departs from other feminist evaluations of H.D. in its announced resistance to "aspects of the postmodern climate governing H.D.'s reclamation," and particularly to postmodern "hierarchies of praise and blame, which often seem to recapitulate the modernist terms of invalidation that have so dominated the reception of her writing." Indeed , one of the more arresting insights offered in Classic Lines is the idea that contemporary critics may share more intellectual affinities and prejudices with the modernist cadre of male writers, commentators and publicists who buried H.D. in the first place than with the revenant herself. Against a prolonged critical climate that values enlightenment over nostalgia, narrative over the lyric, and the split subject of psychoanalysis over the liminal initiate of religious mystery, Gregory invokes the figure of a woman—stubborn, uncertain, and "remarkably shameless "—who keeps crossing over to the other, the losing, side. 124 BOOK REVIEWS Gregory divides her own book into two sides or parts, only to underscore the interdependence between them. The first part, "Contexts," provides the matrix through which Gregory projects the more crystallized studies of the second part, "Classical Intertextualities," devoted to H.D's exchanges with individual writers. A still more crystallized Appendix combines original and existing scholarship to form a catalogue of the classical subtexts in Louis Martz's 1983 edition of H.D.'s Collected Poems , 1912-1944. The book as a whole focuses largely on H.D.'s early career , though the final chapter extends its explorations to H.D.'s lifelong engagement with Euripides. The themes of war and survival, and attendant themes of loss and recovery, pervade the book, appearing not only as persistent elements in H.D.'s own life and in her relationship to the hellenistic world, but also as key paradigms of critical engagement for Gregory. Thus, Gregory opens Part I with the argument that "hellenism itself seems intrinsically linked to and brought into definition by wars," and that "[t]he very notion of the classics is bound to the question of'survival .'" For H.D., the literary wars of the modernists joined the world wars as inescapable contexts through which to approach the classics. H. D. identified her own art largely (but never entirely) with the despised side of a branching series of oppositions between classicism and romanticism , modernism and late romanticism, and Dorian and Ionian hellenism . At the same time, Gregory argues, H.D. protested the violence intrinsic to the dominant, patrilinear strain of modern classicism, which guaranteed the purity of its line through the continual expulsion or suppression of a decadent, feminine, Asiatic, and occult counterstrain. Embracing instead the more muddied "complexity of matrilinear transmission," H.D. cast herself in the effaced role of visionary priestess: "a liminal figure, serving a domain...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 124-127
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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