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The H.D. Book (The Collected Writings of Robert Duncan) Hardcover – January 5, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Duncan's (1919–1988) great meditation on modernism's last remaining question mark finally sees print. Published as the first volume in California's Collected Writings of Robert Duncan series, this lovingly prepared volume presents this long critical work, written in 1960 and 1961, in its full form for the first time. It brilliantly reconstructs the dynamics of Pound, Williams, and H.D.'s complex, charged, evolving poet relations, and of H.D.'s eventual departure from the modernist mainstream into a classicism that exasperated Williams, but clearly fascinates Duncan. It reveals Duncan's own poetic relationship to H.D., with whom he corresponded late in the latter poet's life. It tracks a canonical murder, by which critics (beginning with Randall Jarrell) systematically exclude H.D. from the modernist pantheon. And it shows Duncan, whose great longer works lay ahead of him, struggling to find a poetic kernel within H.D.'s oeuvre. While this book is staged as an elaborate defense of H.D.'s work, and especially her austere and archaic-seeming late poetry, it is best read as the daybook of a poet as he absorbs, thinks through, departs from, returns to, and loves a major antecedent. (Jan.)
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Review

“Published as the first volume in California's Collected Writings of Robert Duncan series, this lovingly prepared volume presents this long critical work, written in 1960 and 1961, in its full form for the first time.”
(Publishers Weekly 2010-11-17)

“The guiding light throughout is Duncan’s clear, though subtly resonant prose, which lets even lengthy sentences carry the reader smoothly along from beginning to end.”
(Foreword Reviews 2011-01-01)

“I am besotted with a new book that is also an old book. This is The H.D. Book, by Robert Duncan, a wild, dazzling, idiosyncratic magnum opus. . . . The wonders of The H.D. Book are almost without number. [It is] a work of exacting and extravagant optimism.”
(Jed Perl New Republic 2011-01-04)

“Profoundly coherent: a strikingly original and provocative articulation of an American literary vision that is engaged simultaneously with Romantic enchantment, modernist formalism, and an arguably postmodern concern with citational networks, self-displacement, and the shadow play of a language always larger than us.”
(Bookforum 2011-02-01)

“Extraordinary book.”
(Tri-Quarterly Online 2011-04-20)

“Into this eldritch tapestry Duncan weaves patches of poetic autobiography, strands of family history and reflections on his intellectual development.”
(The Nation 2011-02-21)

“Charming.”
(Poetry Foundation/ Harriet 2011-06-10)

“Robert Duncan’s The H.D. Book, complete in print at last, now manifests the timeliness of its permanence.”
(Jim Powell The Threepenny Rev 2012-03-01)

“The belated publication of The H.D. Book will, one hopes, lead more readers to her haunting, resonant later work and also convince more readers to make the leap into Robert Duncan's demanding but gorgeous word-music. Someday, some century even, he and his peers in the Bay Area Renaissance . . . will be recognized as the greatest and most rewarding American poets of their era.”
(Greer Mansfield Bookslut 2011-08-01)
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Product Details

  • Series: The Collected Writings of Robert Duncan (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 696 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition edition (January 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520260759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520260757
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,523,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By parinda on August 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
a poet's poet. a radical liberal anarchist and humanist. and a man with a life-long commitment to the magic of his art. in both poetry and in his criticism he followed the promptings of his spirit and thru a life-long intellectual pursuit of the muse created an oevure in poetry as fascinating as it is exasperating. but the genius of his criticism is never opaque here he brings us with him on his journey thru hilda doolittle's art that will enchant anyone who loves exploring the roots of the poetic vocation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Breathe Please on May 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Duncan worked on this for years but only published a few pieces in poetry journals. It started as a tribute to H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), the poet Ezra Pound had designated as "Imagiste" in London during a period of intense experiment toward a renewal of poetic English. Duncan's insights into H. D. and her circle are illuminating. Though beginning with H. D. Pound, Joyce, Eliot, and the whole raft of Modernism, it serves also as a kind of serching poetic autobiography of one of the most erudite and spiritually engaged poets of the American 20th century.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Addiss on August 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not yet as well-known as he deserves, Duncan was one of the great American poets of his time.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Klawitter on May 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My first purchase for my Kindle and I like it very much. If you already like Duncan's poetry, you will like this book of prose.
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