Class Year

2019

Date

4-23-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Distinguished Thesis

Yes

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department or Program

English

First Advisor

Joshua Corey

Second Advisor

Carla Arnell

Third Advisor

Miguel de Baca

Abstract

This thesis reads the American expatriate poet H.D.’s tripartite poem Trilogy, composed in London during World War Two, as a spiritualist war epic. Though the influence of occultism on H.D.’s work has been given more critical attention in recent years, her foray into spiritualism remains relatively unstudied. The primary aim of this project is to illustrate how H.D.’s experiences in spiritualist séances during the war years, as depicted in the recently published autobiographical text Majic Ring (composed 1943-1944, published 2009), shaped the writing of her modernist epic and its optimistic vision of worldwide spiritual resurrection out of the wreckages of modernity. This reading reveals how spiritualism offered H.D. an avenue for restoring meaning and dignity to death itself under historical circumstances in which death, on a mass industrial scale, was intentionally perpetuated to preclude meaning and signified the absolute annihilation of the body, legacy, tradition, and cultural memory.

Language

English


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