A Curious Peril:
H.D.’s Late Modernist Prose

Lara Vetter

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"Demonstrating how literary aspects of H.D.'s late prose contribute to politically attuned cultural work, Vetter astutely counters longstanding claims about H.D.'s 'escapism.'"--Miranda Hickman, author of The Geometry of Modernism

"An important, meticulously researched treatment of H.D.'s post-WWII writing that helps us understand her multiple genre-bending and time-warping moves."--Madelyn Detloff, author of The Value of Virginia Woolf


A Curious Peril examines the prose penned by modernist writer H.D. in the aftermath of World War II, a little-known body of work that has been neglected by scholars, and argues that the trauma H.D. experienced in London during the war profoundly changed her writing. Lara Vetter reveals a shift in these writings from classical "escapist" settings to politically aware explorations of gender, spirituality, nation, and imperialism.

Impelled by the shocking political crises of the early 1940s, and increasingly sensitive to imperialist logics, H.D. began to write about the history of modern Europe using innovative forms and genres. She directed her well-known interest in mysticism and otherworldly themes toward the material world of empire-building and perpetual war. Vetter contends that H.D.'s postwar work is essential to understanding the writer's entire career, marking her entrance into late modernism and even foretelling crucial aspects of postmodernism.

Lara Vetter, associate professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is the editor of H.D.'s By Avon River and the author of Modernist Writings and Religio-scientific Discourse: H.D., Loy, and Toomer.
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