How I spend my time

I decided that it was a Good Life Decision to wander around the internet in search of H.D.-related media instead of writing an essay. And I’m very glad I did, because I found this amazing image of H.D.

I am in love with this. I am tempted to call the library holding it to see if it’s possible to get some sort of reproduction of it because I kind of want to frame it. Aside from my love of old film, it is so H.D. to me. The image is very quiet but very powerful at the same time. It made me think about how much an author’s image can influence what you think of their work and vice-versa.  I’d never read any Emily Dickinson before this class, but I had an idea of her work just based on that one photograph of her: sweet and very 19th century. Whereas when I think of H.D., I automatically have visions of Hermione (and now “The Sea Garden”) in my  head. What I find interesting about Dickinson and H.D. is that, even though they wrote during different eras, they were both active during a time when photography was becoming more common but they both used it in very different ways. Dickinson avoided it almost entirely whereas H.D. really embraced it. I can’t help but wonder if that was very imagiste of H.D.; looking at those photographs of her in Scanlon’s powerpoint, I could tell that she was using imagery to create a narrative in a very similar way that she did in her poetry.

By the way, the above image is a bit of filmstrip, circa 1927, that is held in the Beinecke Library at Yale. They have a lot of great stuff; there are some typed versions of H.D.’s poems complete with her edits, lots of pictures, and screenshots from Borderline (although a warning: when you first search for H.D. in the Beinecke database, you get some random early maps of the US). It’s a great resource that I think everyone should check out, if only for the awesome pictures.

One Comment, Comment or Ping

  1. I think you’re definitely right about that. Even in Dickinson’s time you have Walt Whitman making use of photography to try and represent what he wants to convey in his poetry, the imaged representation of his message.

    I can definitely see that narrative and if you look here, you can even see that narrative in full in her own scrapbook:

    You might want to take a look around that website too, which is just the flickr of The Beinecke Library.

    April 28th, 2011