Penelope’s Web: Gender, Modernity, H. D.’s Fiction

image of book cover for
Friedman, S. S. Penelope’s Web: Gender, Modernity, H. D.’s Fiction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

IRH Fellow:
Susan Stanford Friedman, 1986-1987 Resident Fellow

Penelope’s Web should appeal to a wide spectrum of readers interested in twentieth-century modernism, women’s writing, feminist criticism, post-structuralist theory, psychoanalysis, autobiography, and women’s studies. It is the first book to examine fully the brilliantly innovative prose writings of H.D., the pen-name for Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961), who has been known primarily as a poet. Her prose, more personal, experimental, and postmodern than her poetry, raises central questions about the relation of women writers to language, desire, and history. She suppressed in her lifetime many of these texts because of their daring exploration of her bisexuality and their radical critique of the social order. H.D.’s prose writings contribute importantly to the many histories and theories of modernism that are redrawing boundaries to include the achievement of women writers.