Title

“Second only to the Pharoah”: The role of the poet in H.D.’s Trilogy

Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Arts and Humanities

First Advisor

Professor Susan Ash

Field of Research Code

2005

Abstract

H.D.’s book-length poem Trilogy conducts a self-reflexive exploration of the role of ‘the poet’ and poetry in history, the contextual present of the Second World War, and the future. This thesis analyses Trilogy’s complex and multifaceted verse. Chapter One examines H.D.’s construction of ‘the poet,’ both in terms of the speaker and the poet as a role throughout history. It explores the refractory and obfuscating identity of the poet, and connects the modern poet to the extensive history of poets that H.D. evokes. I conclude by examining H.D.’s construction of the poet’s relevance in modern society, through her dialogue with an imagined disbeliever in poetry. Chapter Two explores H.D.’s construction of poetry itself in Trilogy, and its significance in human history, and consequently also for our future. It explores the poem’s use of mythology and alchemy in representing poetry’s work, and poetry’s secure place in history that influences its readers today and will continue to do so. Chapter Three conducts a deconstructive reading of selected poems to better understand H.D.’s examination of poetry’s role in helping society and the individual recover from the war. That is, I examine how and why H.D. proposes poetry as a tool for recovery.

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