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A Curious PerilH.D.'s Late Modernist Prose$
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Lara Vetter

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813054568

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813054568.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Autobiography and Ghost Story

Autobiography and Ghost Story

Chapter:
(p.33) 1 Autobiography and Ghost Story
Source:
A Curious Peril
Author(s):

Lara Vetter

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813054568.003.0002

Chapter 1 examines the first half of The Sword Went Out to Sea, her first postwar novel, arguing that its construction relies upon two disparate genres, autobiography and ghost story, that exist in an inexorable tension, constantly interrogating one another. H.D. wrote throughout her career in autobiographical modes. In this novel, in an implicit critique of her own previous autobiographical novels, H.D.’s narrator, Delia Alton, is so obsessively self-focused that her psyche becomes unstable and the narrative explodes under the pressure of its repetitive autobiographical excess. Readers are offered a tediously transparent autobiographical story that simultaneously asks them to believe, impossibly, in the materiality of ghosts. They are thus confronted with central, unanswerable questions about truth and the nature of reality.

Keywords:   The Sword Went Out to Sea, genre, autobiography, ghost story

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