Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Christopher J. MacGowan
Leisa D. Meyer
In their poetry, Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) and Adrienne Rich investigate and critique the traditional perception that language is first and foremost the province of men. They explore the implications of this perception on women writers and envision new ways for women to claim language and assert their voices. Although they were born in different times, they followed similar paths in their personal lives and as authors. Both were born into middle class families in the Eastern United States; H.D. (b. 1886) grew up in Pennsylvania, and Rich (b. 1929) grew up in Baltimore. Both had science professor fathers who encouraged their daughters to read and excel in school. Both had mothers (strangely enough, named Helen) who had given up artistic careers in order to support their husbands. Both received good educations – H.D. was a student at Bryn Mawr College but did not graduate, and Rich excelled at and graduated from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both entered into heterosexual marriages that ended in divorce, and then turned to homosexual relationships. Both wrote more traditional verse at the beginning of their careers and gradually began writing more overtly feminist work as they got older. Finally, both women expressed a feeling of divided identity and attempted to unify the divisions they experienced through their poetry.
MacLure, Jennifer Lynn, ""I refuse these givens:" Reintegrating the Split Self in the Poetry of H.D. and Adrienne Rich" (2010). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 718.
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