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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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Facing the Past, Becoming l’autre

Facing the Past, Becoming l’autre

(p.157) 7 Facing the Past, Becoming l’autre
A Curious Peril

Lara Vetter

University Press of Florida

Bringing together two prose narratives that consider sexual betrayal in relationship to empire, Chapter 7 compares the treatment of the “other woman” in the 1926 “Hipparchia,” to that in Sword. The chapter argues that in earlier works H.D. is unable to tolerate alterity, fearing engulfment by or repudiating the other, and that she consistently casts Romans as other, as hostile conquerors of her beloved Ancient Greece. In Sword she creates an autobiographical character, by contrast, that inhabits the Roman body of the other woman. For H.D. in 1947, imaginatively embodying the position of l’autre Romain constitutes an attempt to understand, even embrace, the permeable and contingent nature of the relationship between self and other, to exorcise the “political onus” of German-ness.

Keywords:   The Sword Went Out to Sea, ethics, alterity, other woman

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