Title page for ETD etd-11062008-102711

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Mitchem, Sarah Lewis
Author's Email Address smitchem@vt.edu
URN etd-11062008-102711
Title Mythic Metamorphosis: Re-shaping Identity in the Works of H.D.
Degree Master of Fine Arts
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Gardner, Thomas M. Committee Chair
D'Aguiar, Frederick M. Committee Member
Sorrentino, Paul M. Committee Member
  • Imagism
  • Asklepios
  • healing methods
  • H.D.
Date of Defense 2007-04-13
Availability unrestricted
In section fifteen of the poem The Walls Do Not Fall author Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) address her audience and articulates the purpose of the poet in the following lines: “we are the keepers of the secret,/ the carriers, the spinners/ of the rare intangible thread/ that binds all humanity/ to ancient wisdom,/ to antiquity;/…every concrete object/ has abstract value, is timeless/ in the dream parallel” (Trilogy 24). H.D. mined her own life for charged relationships which she then, through writing, connected to the mythic characters of antiquity whose tales embodied the same struggles she faced. Reading concrete objects as universal symbols which transcend time, her mind meshed the 20th century with previous cultures to create a nexus where the questions embedded in the human spirit are alive on multiple planes. The purpose of this research project is not to define her works as “successful” or “unsuccessful,” nor to weigh the works against each other in terms of “advancement.” Rather it is to describe the way she manipulates this most reliable of tools, mythic metamorphosis, in works stretching from her early Imagist poetry, through her long poem Trilogy, and finally into her last memoir End To Torment, taking note of the way she uses this tool to form beauty from harsh circumstances and help heal her shattered psyche.
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