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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractH.D.’s treatment of the classics offers alternatives to dominant reception traditions, which have used classics to fortify a fascist aesthetics. Her anthological syncretism puts classical elements into new juxtapositions, emphasizing the poet’s role as arranger and creating a poetics of relations rather than of essences. My dissertation shows how H.D.’s engagement with the Greek Anthology informed the development of her radical classical reception. Ancient Greek epigram is an instrument of repurposing. Through careful arrangement of relationships, it engineers a moment of metamorphosis, be it the transformation of an object into a symbol through dedication or the transformation of a concept through deviant variation. The Greek Anthology holds hundreds of these little instruments together in contingent assemblage: it is really an anthology of ratios, of relationships. There are the core relationships defined within each epigram, but also the relationships between the epigrams, which are arranged in various substructures and taxonomies. The anthology’s relational poetics is revived by H.D., and I show how she usurps its strategies of repetition, variation, and transformative juxtaposition to challenge our understanding of what is beautiful in the classics. My project culminates in a new reading of H.D.’s reception of Helen of Troy in Helen in Egypt, one that allows us to recognize it as a malleable anthology that binds various genres and traditions.
Degree ProgramGraduate College