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Laura K. McClure
University of Wisconsin, Madison (Madison, WI 53715-1218)
Reimagining the Chorus: Modern American Poet Hilda Doolittle (known as H.D.) and Greek Tragedy

Preparation of a book on the influence of ancient Greek drama on the 20th-century American poet Hilda Doolittle (known as H.D.).

This project examines the engagement of the modernist American poet Hilda Doolittle (1886-1961), known as H.D., with the Greek chorus, from her first experiments with translations of Euripides to her final extended dramatic lyric, Helen in Egypt. It situates this analysis within a broader context of Hellenism at the end of the 19th and early 20th century, a key period for the transmission and reception of Greek tragedy in Britain and the U.S. I argue that H.D. transformed a marginal and obscure literary form into a modernist aesthetic of translation and poetics, what she termed the 'choros-sequence', in order to challenge and reshape the male lyric tradition from a female perspective. As the first comprehensive study of the choral form in H.D.’s literary production, this project contributes to the growing body of scholarship on women as critical agents of classical reception.

Project fields:
American Literature; Classical Languages; Classical Literature

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2019 – 7/31/2019