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Bid Me To Live (1960)

by H.D.

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Madrigal Cycle (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1231184,613 (3.4)14
"Scholars and students alike will turn to Caroline Zilboorg's edition of H.D.'s Bid Me to Live for an introduction that provides heretofore unavailable insights and annotations that elucidate the book's countless literary and biblical allusions. A useful, thorough, and eloquent study."--Michel W. Pharand, author of Bernard Shaw and the French   "Zilboorg's introduction and notes are excellent, thorough, and accurate--the work of an unparalleled expert in the field. This edition makes a major contribution to H.D. and modernist studies."--Jane Augustine, editor of H.D.'s The Mystery   In the riveting and intense Bid Me to Live, H.D. documents her traumatic experiences during WWI on which she blamed a number of personal tragedies, including a stillborn child, the end of her marriage, and her pained relationship with D. H. Lawrence. This critical edition returns the novel to print for the first time in a generation.              Editor Caroline Zilboorg offers invaluable background information and perspectives that facilitate a rich and rewarding reading of a complex novel. Including an introduction that recounts the autobiographical narrative on which the book is based, a biographical key to all the major characters, explanations of textual references, and photographs of all the central figures in the text, this is a powerful resource for understanding and appreciating one of the Imagist author's most accessible novels.   H.D. (born Hilda Doolittle, 1886-1961) is an American writer whose work exerted enormous influence on modernist poetry and prose.   Caroline Zilboorg is an independent scholar based in France. She is a life member of Clare Hall at Cambridge University and has published a number of books, including Richard Aldington and H.D.: Their Lives in Letters.… (more)
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» See also 14 mentions

H.D was Hilda Doolittle an American imagist poet. She published this novel in 1960 a year before her death. It is a deeply autobiographical novel the characters thinly veiled recreations of her friends and lovers.
Set in London and Cornwall in 1917 – Julia Ashton is married to Rafe (representations of H D and husband Richard Aldington) who returns on leave from the trenches, leaves writes letters to his wife and returns again. Among their friends are Frederick and Elsa (DH and Frieda Lawrence) Bella (Dorothy Yorke) and Vane (Cecil Gray).

Julia is still mourning the loss of her baby, as she tries to come to terms with her husband’s infidelity. The world of the people surrounding her is a peculiar one – one of a dreamlike unreality – like actors on a stage they play out their relationships to a background of war. When Frederick arrives on the scene he persuades Julia to go to Cornwall, and it is here that she is finally able to make sense of what has happened, and start to face the future.

The novel has a rather claustrophobic and dreamlike quality; the writing is very beautiful, the prose having a very poetic feel to it – which is not surprising given that the author was best known as a poet. There are some very poignant moments – the scenes between Julia and Rafe as their marriage is ending were brilliantly portrayed and quite obviously hugely personal to the writer.

Interestingly in the afterword to this edition H.D’s daughter Perdita Schaffer describes how she came to meet her natural father Cecil Gray in 1947 – she was the result of the brief liaison between H.D and Cecil Gray after H.D’s marriage to fellow poet Richard Aldington came to an end. This is part of the story, of the people who are behind the characters in the novel. ( )
2 vote Heaven-Ali | Apr 11, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
H.D.primary authorall editionscalculated
McNeil, HelenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schaffner, PerditaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zilboorg, CarolineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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"Scholars and students alike will turn to Caroline Zilboorg's edition of H.D.'s Bid Me to Live for an introduction that provides heretofore unavailable insights and annotations that elucidate the book's countless literary and biblical allusions. A useful, thorough, and eloquent study."--Michel W. Pharand, author of Bernard Shaw and the French   "Zilboorg's introduction and notes are excellent, thorough, and accurate--the work of an unparalleled expert in the field. This edition makes a major contribution to H.D. and modernist studies."--Jane Augustine, editor of H.D.'s The Mystery   In the riveting and intense Bid Me to Live, H.D. documents her traumatic experiences during WWI on which she blamed a number of personal tragedies, including a stillborn child, the end of her marriage, and her pained relationship with D. H. Lawrence. This critical edition returns the novel to print for the first time in a generation.              Editor Caroline Zilboorg offers invaluable background information and perspectives that facilitate a rich and rewarding reading of a complex novel. Including an introduction that recounts the autobiographical narrative on which the book is based, a biographical key to all the major characters, explanations of textual references, and photographs of all the central figures in the text, this is a powerful resource for understanding and appreciating one of the Imagist author's most accessible novels.   H.D. (born Hilda Doolittle, 1886-1961) is an American writer whose work exerted enormous influence on modernist poetry and prose.   Caroline Zilboorg is an independent scholar based in France. She is a life member of Clare Hall at Cambridge University and has published a number of books, including Richard Aldington and H.D.: Their Lives in Letters.

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"Were they extrovert? Introvert? They had no names for these things.  True, the late war-intellectuals gabbled of Oedipus across tea-cups ror Soho cafe tables; it was not Vimy or Loos they talked of."It is 1917 and Julia Ashton lives in a shuttered room in Queen's Square, bloomsbury.  A young wife, no longer happy, she mourns the loss of her baby, and lives that war-time life of love and death as her poet husband, Rafe, comes and goes from the trenches of the First World War.  In this 'Other Bloomsbury', a world of part make-believe, where the actors play at life and sex, Julia refuses to come to terms with her husband's infidelity, her failing marriage, and her private world of pain.  Then into her trance-like state breaks Frederick, the writer with the flaming beard and the driving, volcanic genius.  Only when she flees the fog and fever of London to seek a new calm in the wild countryside of Cornwall, can Julia face the truth about herself, her marriage, and her future with the forceful Frederick....The imagist poet Hilda Doolittle first published this directly autobiographical novel in 1960.  With the characters of Julia, Rafe, Frederick and his wife, Elsa, H.D. presents a startling, truthful portrait of herself,  her husband Richard Aldington, her friends, D.H. and Frieda Lawrence, and others (Cecil Gray, Dorothy Yorke, Amy Lowll, Ezra Pound) in London during the First World War.  In language of extraordinary beauty, Bid Me to Live brilliant defines the malaise of the 'Lost Generation' through the feelings, moods, sensations and memories of one of America's greatest poets.
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