A Curious Peril: H.D.'s Late Modernist Prose

, Author
Lara Vetter
Ph.D., 2003.,
University Press of Florida, 2017

A Curious Peril examines the prose penned by modernist writer H.D. in the aftermath of World War II, a little-known body of work that has been neglected by scholars, and argues that the trauma H.D. experienced in London during the war profoundly changed her writing.

Lara Vetter reveals a shift in these writings from classical "escapist" settings to politically aware explorations of gender, spirituality, nation, and imperialism. Impelled by the shocking political crises of the early 1940s, and increasingly sensitive to imperialist logics, H.D. began to write about the history of modern Europe using innovative forms and genres. She directed her well-known interest in mysticism and otherworldly themes toward the material world of empire-building and perpetual war. Vetter contends that H.D.'s postwar work is essential to understanding the writer's entire career, marking her entrance into late modernism and even foretelling crucial aspects of postmodernism.