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Title: 'Visible worlds' : the process of the image in the work of H.D.
Author: Connor, Rachel Anne.
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis examines the literary deployment of the visual in the work of H. D. (Hilda Doolittle). Beginning with a discussion of the early poetry of Sca Garden (1916) and the essay Notes on Thought and Vision (1919), 1 argue that H. D. 's categorisation as an Imagist poet has effaced the political and aesthetic possibilities opened up by her prose and later work. H. D. *s representation of 'womb vision' in Notes on Thought and Vision can be seen to anticipate the notion of' the 'creating spectator' in the theoretical writings of the Soviet film director. Sergei Eisenstein. Thus, by considering Sea Garden alongside developments in early cinema, I re-evaluate the image in H. D. *s early work, and locate her poetics not as 'static" but as kinetic. H. D. was also directly involved in film-making and in the writing of film criticism. Chapter Two explores how her engagement with the moving image is inscribed into the autobiographical novel Her, written in 1917. Examining Her alongside the silent film Borderline (1930), which H. D. helped to produce, this chapter explores issues of sexual and racial difference which are foregrounded through the formal devices employed in both texts. Chapter Three examines Tile Gýfi, which was written during the Second World War, in the light of H. D. 's contributions to the film journal Close Up (1927-33). This reading not only illuminatcs the political and ideological implications of H. D. 's use of the visual, it explores the intersections between literary and visual cultures at the beginning of the twentieth century. Accounts of cinema are largely absent from the history of literary Modernism and the thesis therefore goes some way towards a revisionist analysis of the period. Chapter Four extends the paradigm of the visual in H. D. 's work still further, analysing her memoirs Tribute To Freud (1956) and the unpublished Mqiic Ring (1943-44) in the light of her involvement with spiritualism. Both these texts encode a critique of the scientific 'gaze' exemplified by psychoanalysis and offer possibilities for an alternative model of 'seeing' which is predicated upon spiritual, or visionary, experience. Returning to the discourse of the cinema in Chapter Five, I contextualise my reading of Helen in EDIpt (1961 ) within debates about synchronised sound in early cinema. I also explore H. D. 's construction of female subjectivity and corporeality in Helen in the light of recent feminist film theory. In many ways H. D. 's work anticipates the preoccupations of recent feminist thinkers such as Luce Irigaray, H616ne Cixous and Judith Butler. These writers - along with recent feminist film theorists like Mary Ann Doane and Laura n Mulvey - provide a theoretical underpinning for the thesis. Such an approach permits a questioning of H. D. 's perceived position as a 'Modernist' poet. Furthermore, in the light of postmodern preoccupations with process, fluidity and flux, it is possible to see how dominant configurations of gender and sexuality are. through H. D. 's work, deliberately, and consistently, unsettled.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Hilda Doolittle; Poetry; Film-making; Feminist Literature Mass media Performing arts