HERmione [sic] by Hilda (H.D.) Doolittle

HERmione [sic]

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Unpublished during her lifetime, and a dreadful novel in many ways, H.D.'s very autobiographical triangle story--herself (Hermione Gart), Ezra Pound (George Lowndes), and Frances Gregg (Fayne Rabb)--is nonetheless of literary/historical interest, with some touches of artistic daring as well. Young ""Her"" Gart is the unmarried daughter of a Main Line Pennsylvania family of scientists during the early 1910s. She's a little wispy by nature; and the return of her Europe-roving (and faintly scandalous) poet-suitor, Lowndes/Pound, is greeted by the family with no great relish. Aesthetic to a fault, Lowndes makes even Her herself a bit uneasy; she's not sure she wants to marry someone to whom she'll only be a bella figura, a literary trope. But the family absolutely loves Lowndes when they see who his interim successor is: Fayne Rabb. Ambisexual, as interested in George as she is in Her, Fayne hints at a romantic triple-play that's finally much too much for the already unstable Her to execute: nervous breakdown ensues. True, H.D.'s style is repetitive and claustrophobic: ""Melic or choriambic and Her Gart was caught in the lurid sort of strange silence that Mrs. Rabb punctured from time to time by her caustic sort of sarcastic sort of belittlings till Fayne Rabb will never come was the one sound, the sound her heart made."" But it is also sometimes interesting: the Gart house, for instance, is always described geometrically, as in a theorem--which makes it seem vertiginous, exactly as Her experiences it. Still, it's for the real-life parallels rather than intrinsic literary quality that the book is finally being published--and those who are Poundians, especially, will probably want a look.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1981
ISBN: 0811208176
Publisher: New Directions