Richard Aldington & H.D.: The Later Years in Letters, Volume 4

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Manchester University Press, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 271 pages
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"In May 1929 Richard Aldington wrote to his wife and life-long friend, Hilda Doolittle, known to the world as the poet H.D.: 'You've got a rare, wonderful genius, and you can impose it. It's the most marvellous help to me to feel that you're "with me". Whatever happens, don't let us get separated again.'" "Ironically, over the next thirty-two years they were often separated - by divorce, by continents and oceans, and finally in 1961, by death itself. But throughout their lives they wrote to each other frequently about their work, their friends - Ezra Pound and D. H. Lawrence among them - their children, lovers and companions, and their tempestuous and complex love for each other." "Both were pioneers in Modernist literature and participants in the Imagist movement of 1912. H.D.'s early verse established her reputation as a female writer at the forefront of experimental expression. Her work was revealing, often autobiographical and examined her artistic and sexual relationships with both men and women. Richard Aldington was a poet, novelist and translator as well as a biographer who alienated the British establishment with his acerbic Lawrence of Arabia." "Drawing on Aldington's and H.D.'s intimate correspondence between 1929 and 1961, Zilboorg explores their personal and professional lives, their friendships, and topics which concerned them both: cultural identity, sexuality, and the role of literature in the modern world." "The letters collected together reveal an intimate portrait of one of this century's most fascinating literary couples and it is impossible not to be caught up in the narrative of this complex and moving relationship."--BOOK JACKET.

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About the author (1995)

Richard Aldington, christened Edward Godfree, was born at Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, on July 8, 1892. Aldington attended preparatory schools as a child, after which he studied for four years at Dover College. He then enrolled in University College but did not complete his education there due to a sudden financial loss suffered by his father, forcing him to withdraw. For a while, Aldington was supporting himself as an assistant to a newspaper sportswriter. He also wrote reviews and essays, worked on translations, and finally began selling his own poems. He soon made friends with a group of three other young poets: Ezra Pound, Hilda Doolittle, and Harold Monro. During this period, Aldington became associated with the Imagist movement, through his association with Ezra Pound. His poetry appeared in Pound's 1914 anthology Des Imagistes and in Amy Lowell's annual anthology Some Imagist Poets. He published his first volume of poetry, Images (1910-1915), in 1915. On June 24, 1916, Aldington left for military service. He was sent to France in the winter after training. The two and a half years that Aldington spent in active duty during WWI was to become perhaps the greatest single influence on his writing for the decades to follow. His most immediate literary response to the war was his collection of poetry Images of War, published in 1919, which was followed by his first, and perhaps most well known novel, Death of a Hero. Aldington published 24 books, as editor or translator, or collections of his poems, between 1920 and 1929, including the first book of his about his friend D.H. Lawrence, D.H. Lawrence, An Indiscretion. Over the following ten years, he published several more collections of short stories, three long poems, four editions of his collected poems, miscellaneous literary journalism and wrote seven novels. In 1939, Viking offered him editorship of The Viking Book of Poetry of the English Speaking World after having published his novel Rejected Guest. Aldington sold serial rights to his memoirs to the Atlantic Monthly which were published in 1941 under the title Life for Life's Sake. After moving to Florida, Aldington began his biography of the Duke of Wellington, which was published in 1943. In 1942, Aldington took his family to Hollywood where he hoped to work as a screen writer. They stayed in Hollywood for over three years while Aldington worked as a freelance writer for the studios. He also finished The Duke, which he began in Florida, edited the Portable Oscar Wilde, and did a few translations. He published his last novel, The Romance of Casanova: A Novel, in 1946. Aldington died in France in 1962.

Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Hilda Doolittle was educated at Bryn Mawr College. In 1911, after a visit abroad, she helped to organize the imagists with Ezra Pound. She married Richard Aldington, the English poet and novelist, whom she later divorced. Written in poetic prose, her poignant and subtle Tribute to Freud: With Unpublished Letters by Freud to the Author (1965) is a record of her memories of her analytical experiences in 1933--34, a memoir of Freud (see Vols. 3 and 5) in London in 1938--39, and a description of the impact of his unique personality. In Palimpsest (1926), she explores the difficulties that a woman finds herself in as she tries to cultivate both love and art in a world that is ugly, vulgar, and violent. Her novel Bid Me To Live: A Madrigal (1960), about a woman's loneliness and self-discovery during World War I, is a poetic stream-of-consciousness study. She lived in London from 1911 through the bombings of two world wars and spent her later years in Zurich, Switzerland, coming to New York only for brief visits. She received the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award (1959) and the award of merit medal for poetry (1960) from the American Academy of Arts and Letters---the first time the latter was awarded to a woman.

Zilboorg is a member of the English faculty at Cambridge University.

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