Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

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Book Chapter

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American Women and Classical Myths

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For H.D., classical mythology was an essential means of expression, first acquired in childhood and repossessed throughout her life. H.D.’s extensive output of poems, memoirs, and novels is marked by a pervasive Hellenism which evolved in response to the changing conditions of her life and art, but remained her constant idiom. She saw herself as reliving myth, and she used myth as a medium through which to order her own experience and to rethink inherited ideas. If myth served H.D. as a resource for self-understanding and artistic expression, H.D. herself has served subsequent poets, critics, and scholars as a model for the writer’s ability to reclaim myth, to create something new and personal out of ancient shared traditions.

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© 2009 Baylor University Press. Reprinted with permission by Baylor University Press. Available online at

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Date Posted: 27 July 2016