Letters of H.D., Bryher, and Their Circle.
Edited by Susan Stanford Friedman.
Illustrated. 615 pp. New York: New Directions. $39.95.
December 22, 2002
 'Analyzing Freud': The Correspondence of a Literary Patient



“Kat darling, Love and barks, Fido.'' ''Hallo Mog, Love, Rover.'' It's hard to follow at first, but you get used to it. Kat (also Mog, Hyacinth, Lynx, Dryad and just plain Cat) is Hilda Doolittle -- H.D. to you -- the celebrated Imagist poet (so christened by her one-time fiance Ezra Pound) and, for a long stretch, Mrs. Richard Aldington. Fido (also Br, griffon, F.D., Dolly, small dog, Fitho and Chang) is the novelist Bryher, nee Annie Winifred Ellerman, and also -- through a couple of odd marriages of convenience -- Mrs. Robert McAlmon and Mrs. Kenneth Macpherson. Rover (also Dog, Dawg, Kex, K., Kay, Bloodhound and Big Dog) is Macpherson himself, novelist and artist, who had an extended affair with H.D. and then married Bryher so that they could adopt the child H.D. had by Cecil Gray while she was married to Aldington. Rover himself was on the whole gay, but then so was Fido, and so was Kat once in a while. Got it?


Around this core of unconventional and talented people circled a pack of other unconventional and talented people. There was Pound (H.D. got cross with him over his rabid anti-Semitism, but their friendship resumed after the war, when he was incarcerated at St. Elizabeths); D. H. Lawrence (he and H.D. were so close that they traded manuscripts until in 1918, shocked by her loose behavior, he decided never to see her again); the friends of her youth William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore; and many more, whose once-imposing names have receded into footnote material. And then there is Sigmund Freud -- ''Papa'' and ''the Professor'' in private correspondence, but never to his face.

''Analyzing Freud,'' edited by Susan Stanford Friedman, presents the correspondence among H.D., Bryher and their circle during the two short periods, in 1933 and 1934, that Kat spent in Vienna, being analyzed by Papa with Fido paying the bills. It's a fascinating production. The letters reveal two complicated, appealing, highly intelligent women; give us a sense of Vienna at a time of great political upheaval and danger; and present Freud in close-up, as observed by the awed yet canny H.D. (Much later she was to write more formally about her experience with him in the moving ''Tribute to Freud.'')

H.D.'s road to Vienna had been a rocky one. Raised in Pennsylvania by a severe astronomer father and a warm but repressed mother, she went to Bryn Mawr, then left for Europe in 1911. During World War I a beloved brother was killed, and her father died of the shock; she herself lost a baby and then almost died of double pneumonia. There were dangerous breakdowns. It was Bryher who rescued her, tenderly seeing her back to health. They are assumed to have had a brief affair, but that quickly turned into a loving domestic relationship that stretched out through the decades. The two women shared their lives, although each of them shared with others too. And they shared H.D.'s daughter, Perdita, who grew up with two mothers.

By the 30's, H.D. had long since been established as a poet of consequence, but she was eager to break away from the ''Imagist'' label Pound had given her. She grew grander in her ambitions; invested herself in Greek drama, which she translated and recast; wrote overwrought autobiographical fiction. But her emotional condition was fragile, and Bryher -- who was obsessed with psychoanalysis, and indeed became something of a lay analyst herself -- was determined that she should be treated by Freud. Since Bryher was rich, she could afford to pay for the treatments and the expense of Vienna. (Her father, a shipping magnate, was one of the richest men in England.) In late February 1933, H.D. left Perdita in Switzerland with Fido, Rover and Quex (Dorothy Hull, a semi-psychotic housekeeper), and bravely set out for Vienna to expose herself to the implacable insights of the founder of psychoanalysis.

Luckily for us, H.D. was a fluent, unguarded, honest -- you could say indiscreet -- letter writer. Her almost daily missives to Bryher reveal her in all her charm and impossibility. (''Do, do forgive me when I am a snarly cat. I will bite out the burrs and be a good cat-on-the-mat for ever and ever amen, after this.'') She's funny and perceptive about her temporary new home: ''I like this part of Vienna so much. . . . It's all artz, artz and student with smart university ladies in various degrees of having-arrived, and bows and scrapes and gnadidges.'' (You have to accustom yourself to her bizarre stabs at spelling and punctuation; these letters were written at top speed, meant only for her nearest and dearest.) She's endlessly gossipy, even bitchy, and Bryher matches her, gossip for gossip and bitch for bitch. And they're both good writers: one could argue that H.D. -- like Byron, like Wilde -- is at her freest and best in her letters. Wouldn't you rather overhear her giggling over Rebecca West or the Sitwells than, say, cope with a passage like this from her unpublished autobiographical novel, ''The Gift'': ''Under every shrine to Zeus, to Jupiter, to Zeus-pater or Theus-pater or God-the-father, there is an earlier altar. There is, beneath the carved superstructure of every temple to God-the-father, the dark cave or grotto or inner hall or cellar to Mary, Mere, mut, mutter, pray for us.''

Besides the incidental pleasures -- the gossip (H.D. calls it ''sending you the dirt''), the sense of a generously shared life, the up-close view of Europe possibly on the brink of war -- what makes the correspondence especially valuable is H.D.'s observation of Freud, both as a writer taking him in and as a patient grappling with him. From the first visit to the famous office in Freud's home at Berggasse 19, she is both overwhelmed and confrontational: the transference and the countertransference go into immediate high gear. For a while she reports to Bryher on the analysis itself, until Freud -- following standard analytic method -- warns her against talking about it. But there is no ban on talking about Freud himself: ''He is like an old, old bird, he jerks out his arm, commandingly like a terrific old hibou sacre, it scared me to death. He is so old and so majic and so sweet.'' He's also a ''little old mummy of an Oedipus-Rex'' and ''an exquisite old fish-papa'' and an ''old, old, old, thousand-year old Tom-cat!''

As the analysis takes hold, H.D. becomes more descriptive, more serious, more genuine. ''He is a rare, exquisite being, small, very fragile looking but one does not notice his 'infirmity' as he calls it, the thing I much feared.'' (An allusion to the prosthesis in his mouth, which he wore as a result of his cancer of the jaw.) ''He speaks such lovely English in a slightly timid manner with such a mellow Austrian intonation.'' ''He has that wistful ghost look of someone who has been right past the door of the tomb, and such tenderness with such humor. . . . He is the real, the final healer.'' And, to Havelock Ellis, another close friend: ''He is as always, fine, remote, spiritual yet so warm and near and sweet. He has of course a god-like, saint-like, imp-like quivering sense of humor, which alone should put him among the immortels.''

And we do get a sense of what the analysis was like, since on occasion H.D. breaks silence and recounts her dreams, and describes how she and Freud dealt with them. She also reveals the emotional texture of their relationship: on the one hand, ''he has made me cry so terribly''; on the other, ''we are terribly en rapport and happy together.'' There are also delicious bypaths down which the correspondence wanders. The constant concern for the well-being of Pussy (Perdita); the continuing melodrama of the housekeeper Quex, also known as Dragon and Queen, who, the analyst Hanns Sachs warned, was potentially dangerous; and Bryher's courtship of the famous actress (and tease) Elizabeth Bergner, who in 1933 fled Hitler for England. (You can experience her relentless charm in the 1936 film of ''As You Like It,'' in which she is a simpering Rosalind to Laurence Olivier's Orlando.) Bergner led Bryher a merry chase. Loyal as always, H.D. finds a tacky little shop in Vienna where ''an old bitch'' sells her, at inflated prices, pictures of La Bergner that she sends on to Bryher. (Even Freud is impressed by the connection to this huge star of stage and screen. ''He was simply floored,'' H.D. reports.)

The most unlikely drama that unfolds in the letters might be titled ''A Comedy of Chows.'' At H.D.'s very first session with Freud, he warns that it would be unwise for her to approach his favorite, Yo-fi. H.D. knows better, and Yo-fi falls under her spell. Round 1 to H.D.! (Bryher is all ears: ''What I must know is -- does the chow share the analysis hour?'') Soon two puppies are born to Yo-fi, and on April 26, 1933, H.D. writes: ''Had a terrible 1/4 hour yesterday, as papa wants to get rid of two chows . . . they have now 5 dogs. . . . He asked me most pointedly what kind of a garden we had, and how many dogs 'already.' . . . I may be mewing up the wrong tree, but I have a vague hunch, he is sentimentally inclined to offer us the unwanted male twin.'' And that very evening, in another letter, ''The worst has happened. . . . I feel like the Virgin Mary at the entrance of the dove. Pa-pa has offered us one of Yo-fi's pups. What will we do about it?''

H.D. and Bryher do not want this puppy, but they're too polite, or scared, to say so. What they do is stall. On May 3, Kat writes: ''I think, Fido, the only thing to do . . . is to hold it over very tentatively, as I am doing.'' It holds over (and over) until, in September, Anna Freud steps in, writing to Bryher about the dogs: ''My father never wanted them to be a worry to you and you should have no feeling of obligation about them. They were just meant as a pleasure; there are too many worries around anyway, not counting the dogs.''

Before this welcome rescue, however, the comedy of manners has been punctuated by a scene of pure farce: ''Had a terrible time yesterday. Yo-fi is back and doesn't like Lun, and flew at her in the room. We had been to the kitchen to see the pups. Freud ran like lightening and flung himself on the floor and pulled them apart, all his money fell out and Anna and the maid rushed in, Anna screaming in German of course, 'Pappachen beloved you shouldn't have done that,' and the maid taking off Yo-fi in her arms like Jesus with a lamb.''

But all was not fun and games in Vienna. One serious side of Bryher revealed itself in the financial help she funneled through Freud to endangered Jews, mostly from analytic circles. And we follow H.D.'s bold actions on a day when most of Vienna is shut down by demonstrations and fascist activities. (She's the only one of Freud's patients to turn up for her session that day, and she braves the troopers to go to the opera -- it's ''Gotterd* mmerung.'') We also begin to sense how deep her problems go. Freud recognizes, and she acknowledges, that she has a strong, almost megalomaniac impulse. Analyzing a dream about a baby in a basket in a river (linked to the Dore illustration of Moses in the bulrushes), she speculates (in ''Tribute to Freud''), ''Do I wish myself, in the deepest unconscious or subconscious layers of my being, to be the founder of a new religion?'' And there are delusions of grandeur: ''My work is creative and reconstructive, war or no war, if I can get across the Greek spirit at its highest I am helping the world, and the future. It is the highest spiritual neutrality.''

Ironically, H.D. has indeed emerged as the founder of a new religion. Susan Stanford Friedman has been studying her, writing about her and, it would seem, attempting to canonize her for well over a quarter of a century. In ''Analyzing Freud,'' she proves herself to be an excellent editor -- scrupulous and thorough -- but her convictions about H.D.'s importance as an artist and a thinker are so unmediated, so impervious to question, that they distort her view of what was taking place between the poet and the analyst during those intense months in the early 30's. The very first lines of her introduction reveal her agenda: ''Imagine the drama. The performance. The play of two great minds. Two supple phrasemakers in the wordshop of the dim Viennese study dotted with antiquities from around the world.'' (To be fair, Friedman's prose calms down after a few pages.) Her view, in other words, is that Freud and H.D. are equal masters, equivalent geniuses, who are involved together not in therapy but in a ''collaboration.'' I suspect that this reading of what took place in Freud's study would have come as a surprise to H.D. herself. She might frequently and forcefully disagree with the Master but, as she writes in ''Tribute to Freud,'' ''I was a student, working under the direction of the greatest mind of this and of perhaps many succeeding generations.'' And she quotes him as chastising her: ''I keep an eye on the time -- I will tell you when the session is over. You need not keep looking at the time, as if you were in a hurry to get away.'' Does this have the ring of two geniuses engaged in a joint adventure?

For Friedman, though, it is H.D., not Freud, who is the main event. In the past she has edited, with a colleague, a collection called ''Signets: Reading H.D.,'' which includes articles with titles like ''Fishing the Murex Up: Sense and Resonance in H.D.'s 'Palimpsest.' '' She is also the author of the 1981 critical study ''Psyche Reborn,'' in which she speaks of the poet's ''lifelong revolt against a traditional feminine destiny,'' which ''set her apart from the literary mainstream and led her ultimately to a woman-centered mythmaking and radical re-vision of the patriarchal foundation of Western culture.'' This, then, is why H.D.'s proper place in the literary pantheon has been denied her: it is the ''distortions of a phallic criticism'' that have insisted on seeing her as a ''feminine'' lyrical Imagist, dismissing her later ''adaptation of the 'masculine' modes of epic quest and philosophic symbolism.'' I've tried to forget my own phallus while searching for signs of genius in H.D.'s immense body of published poetry and prose, but although I discern a large intelligence, a high level of craft and a vast ambition, I can identify only an intermittently interesting talent.

Freud clearly admired and liked H.D., and he was polite and encouraging about her writing. But even in that area he is by any standard her superior. Consider a brief letter he wrote to her in May 1936, acknowledging a gift of flowers: ''I had imagined I had become insensitive to praise and blame. Reading your kind lines and getting aware of how I enjoyed them I first thought I had been mistaken about my firmness. Yet on second thoughts I concluded I was not. What you gave me, was not praise, was affection and I need not be ashamed of my satisfaction. Life at my age is not easy, but spring is beautiful and so is love.''

Robert Gottlieb is the former editor in chief of Knopf and of The New Yorker.

 LINK for Hilda Doolittle


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Analyzing Freud

The Letters of H.D., Bryher, and Their Circle

Edited by Susan Stanford Friedman

A new book in the studies of Freud, H.D., modernism, gender, and sexuality.

The poet H.D. (1886-1961) was in psychoanalysis with Sigmund Freud in Vienna during the spring of 1933 and again in the fall of 1934. She visited him daily at his study at 19 Berggasse, while outside Nazi militia bullied their way through the streets. Freud was old, and fragile. H.D. was forty-six and despairing of her writing life, which seemed to have reached a dead end, for all her success. Her sessions with Freud proved to be the point of transition, the funnel into which were poured her memories of the past and associations in the present--and from which she emerged reborn. H.D. came to Freud at the urging of her companion, the novelist Bryher (1884-1983), the daughter of a wealthy British shipping magnate. Freud welcomed H.D. as a creative spirit whose work he respected, but he did ask her not to prepare for their sessions, write about them in her journal, or talk about them with her friends, especially Bryher, who remained home in England. H.D.'s letters from Vienna filled the gap. Breezy, informal, irreverent, vibrant with detail, they revolve around her hours with Freud, making her correspondence unique in the spectrum of reminiscences, journals, memoirs, and biographies swirling around the legacy of the "Professor" and the movement he founded. The volume includes H.D. and Bryher's letters, as well as letters by Freud to H.D. and Bryher, most of them published for the first time. In addition, the book includes H.D. and Bryher's letters to and from Havelock Ellis, Kenneth MacPherson, Robert McAlmon, Ezra Pound, and Anna Freud, among others.


Despite winning critical acclaim for her poetry and novels, H.D was beginning to feel that her writing was growing sterile. Added to her anxiety about writing, H.D. was seriously affected by the traumas of the First World War, the rise of Nazism, and her frequently tumultuous personal relationships. Thus, in 1933, on the advice of a friend, H.D. began seeing none other than Sigmund Freud himself at his office in Vienna. The meeting of these two immense figures of twentieth century thought produced a unique and intriguing relationship, beautifully documented in this extraordinary collection of letters. In her correspondence to the novelist Bryher, H.D.’s longtime friend and occasional lover, H.D. describes her sessions with Freud and her obvious admiration and affection for him. H.D.’s vivid portrayal of a lively and interested Freud challenges the stereotypical view of him as cold and detached. Her letters reveal tidbits of their sessions together, including the actual analytical process and their discussions on intellectual and personal matters. Friedman describes H.D.’s depiction of Freud as illuminating his “capacity to blend his humanity with a scientific devotion to truth in a form of nuanced, intuitively inspired artistry.” While at times these two personalities might have clashed, they both found enjoyment in one another’s company, and H.D. would ultimately break out of her creative block to write some of her most innovative works. Beyond the rare and unique portrait of Freud, H.D.’s letters present fascinating and disturbing views of Vienna as the shadow of Nazism and anti-Semitism over the city grows. On the other side of the spectrum, many of H.D.’s letters from Vienna are lyrical, breezy, irreverent, vibrant and full of detail about life in Vienna, her personal relationships, and gossip about other writers. Finally, Analyzing Freud also includes H.D.’s and Bryher’s letters to and from Havelock Ellis, Kenneth MacPherson, Robert McAlmon, Ezra Pound, and Anna Freud.

Two excellent works of recent criticism also consider H.D.'s relationship to Freud and its influence on her poetry: Precipitations: Contemporary American Poetry as Occult Practice by Devin Johnston and Gnostic Contagion: Robert Duncan and the Poetry of Illness by Peter O'Leary.

Bryher and H.D. also shared a love for film evident in the journal Close-Up to which H.D. and Bryher were both contributors. There is an excellent anthology of the journal, Close-Up 1927-1933: Cinema and Modernism.



Analyzing Freud: The Letters of H.D., Bryher, and Their Circle
Friedman, Susan Stanford

ISBN: 0811214990
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation 08/2002
Pages: 640
Binding: Trade Cloth (Hardcover)
Weight: 2.83 lbs

Freud was old, and fragile. H.D. was forty-six and despairing of her writing life, which seemed to have reached a dead end, for all her success. Her sessions with Freud proved to be the point of transition, the funnel into which were poured her memories of the past and associations in the present -- and from which she emerged reborn.

H.D. came to Freud at the urging of her companion, the novelist Bryher (1884-1983), the daughter of a wealthy British shipping magnate. Freud welcomed H.D. as a creative spirit whose work he respected, but he did ask her not to prepare for their sessions, write about them in her journal, or talk about them with her friends, especially Bryher, who remained home in England. H.D.'s letters from Vienna filled the gap. Breezy, informal, irreverent, vibrant with detail, they revolve around her hours with Freud, making her correspondence unique in the spectrum of reminiscences, journals, memoirs, and biographies swirling around the legacy of the "Professor" and the movement he founded.

The volume includes H.D. and Bryher's letters, as well as letters by Freud to H.D. and Bryher, most of them published for the first time. In addition, the book includes H.D. and Bryher's letters to and from Havelock Ellis, Kenneth MacPherson, Robert McAlmon, Ezra Pound, and Anna Freud, among others.






from the book

Analyzing Freud: The Letters of H.D., Bryher, and Their Circle




Analyzing Freud



Bryher arranged with Freud for H.D.'s analysis to last approximately three months, with six sessions a week. Miraculously to H.D., Freud selected her favorite hour of the day-after tea, from 5:00 to 6:00, when she was accustomed to retreat into reverie, reflection, or reading. The analysis actually lasted about fifteen weeks, when it was interrupted by a bomb scare on June 13th. H.D., Bryher, and Freud agreed that she should leave Vienna immediately, with perhaps a return for more analysis in the fall.

H.D.'s complete letters to Bryher during her stay in Vienna are included without any deletions, arranged in chronological clusters based on the weeks of her analysis. Both women had a sense of the importance of these sessions and the historical significance of H.D.'s letters about Freud. H.D. clearly intended to write in detail about her sessions to an intensely curious and partially envious Bryher. But a juxtaposition of her letters with her reflections in Tribute to Freud and Advent shows that she by no means told Bryher everything. Bryher in turn knew that her own letters would be a much-needed emotional support for H.D., with bits of gossip, news of home, and whimsical, irreverent portraits of people and events. There is a hiatus in their letters during Bryher's two visits to Vienna, first from March 28th to April 17th and then from June 3rd until they both left on June 17th. The first few weeks of their correspondence (March 1-28) has been printed in full, without deletion, so that the delicate nuance and rhythm of their epistolary communication can be enjoyed. Bryher's letters from April 17th through June 3rd have been selected and excerpted for reasons of space. On the whole, I have deleted sections from Bryher's letters about travel plans, household affairs, gardening, difficulty with her parents, and neighbors. I have retained all references to psychoanalysis, H.D.'s revelations, the dynamics of their immediate ménage, well-known people, sexuality, and the political situation.

Kenneth Macpherson hovers occasionally and ambiguously as a third presence-both as writer and reader-in the letters of H.D. and Bryher. When at Kenwin, he often adds notes to H.D. on Bryher's letters; and H.D. sometimes adds messages for him or addresses him directly in her letters to Bryher. At times, H.D. clearly invites his reading, not quite sure, however, that he will be interested or approve. But at other times, she clearly directs her letters to Bryher, sometimes even instructing her to keep a letter, part of a letter, or certain information completely private. Macpherson left for London shortly after the analysis began and was clearly "out of the loop," at least until his return to Kenwin on March 21st. H.D. instructs Bryher to fill him in about her analysis, but Bryher's letters to Macpherson rarely comply with H.D.'s request. Then in May, he remained at Kenwin while Bryher was in London taking care of her ailing father and was once again clearly not included in the correspondence between the women.

By 1933, Macpherson had already begun his withdrawal from the ménage. His shadowy, marginal presence in the letters between the women inscribes his changing place in their emotional lives and the new directions of his own desire, which was increasingly directed toward his new lover, David Wickham (BN), a youth from Barbados they all called the Black Borzoi, after the wolfhound that was Macpherson's animal totem. In January, Macpherson had temporarily placed the tubercular Wickham in a hospital in London before heading for Switzerland. In March, he returned to London to bring Wickham back to a sanitorium near Kenwin, where he could visit frequently and oversee his care.

Selected letters from H.D. and Bryher to their friends have also been included. These letters present a significant counterbalance to the representations they make in their letters to each other. Macpherson is the most frequent recipient of such letters, and in particular, Bryher's letters to him while she was in Vienna help fill the gap in the correspondence with H.D.

THE FIRST WEEK-March 1-5, 1933

H.D.'s analysis began dramatically, with confrontations, a contest of wills, and tears. Her first letter home should be read alongside the portrait of her first meeting with Freud in the final section of Tribute to Freud (95-99). Here she recalls how she greeted his legendary collection of antiquities before she looked at him and how she defied his warning that she not touch his dog-"`Do not touch her-she snaps-she is very difficult with strangers.'" Sensing that she was no stranger to Freud in the deepest sense, she reached out to the chow, who nuzzled her head against H.D.'s shoulder "in delicate sympathy." "My intuition challenges the Professor, though not in words," she recalls in Tribute to Freud (99), a "wordless challenge" that is also evident in her report to Bryher on how she and Freud compared their heights-she clearly taller at nearly six feet.

Freud's chows, his companions in the last years of his life, were nearly as legendary as his collection of antiquities. Dorothy Burlingham, the American child analyst and close family friend, had given him his first chow, Lun Yu, in the late 1920s. After her death, Yofi (also spelled Jo-fi) became his favorite, remaining at his side until her death seven years later in 1937. In his memoir of his father, Glory Reflected, Martin Freud remembers Yofi lay in the study all day, signaling the end of each hour by getting up to yawn. Everyone who visited was judged by his or her reception from the chows, who were very "selective, even judicious." "When the dogs," especially Yofi, "condescended to be stroked, the visitor enjoyed the best possible introduction" (190-91). With Yofi's immediate acceptance, H.D. made a splendid beginning, and the chows continued to play a central role in her analysis.

The first short week of analysis-from Wednesday through Saturday-covered critically important psychic territory. Tribute to Freud and Advent expand at length "the Moses dream" to which H.D. briefly alludes in her letter to Bryher. Called her "Princess dream" in Tribute to Freud, H.D. had dreamed of a beautiful Egyptian princess descending the stairs to find a baby in a basket, like the Gustav Dore illustration that both Freud and H.D. admired. The question was: who was Moses? Was it Freud, or did she, as Freud surmised, picture herself as the baby, wanting to be the "founder of a new religion" (TF 36-39; A 118-20).

Perhaps he singled out his favorite statue-a tiny bronze of Pallas Athena-to show her as answer. "`She is perfect,'" he told her, "`only she has lost her spear'" (TF 69). Freud's delicate allusion to his theory of women's penis envy goes unmentioned in H.D.'s letter, but she writes at length about it in "The Master," a poem about her analysis that she refused to publish. "I was angry with the old man/ with his talk of the man-strength," she writes; "I argued till day-break/ [...] / woman is perfect" (CP 455). Freud had begun his collection of antiquities a few months after his father's death in 1896, and some 2,000 precious objects lined his desk, waiting room, and study. The tiny 4 1/8 inch bronze Athena-a 1st or 2nd century A.D. Roman copy of a lost 5th century B.C. Greek original-had pride of place in the center of his desk. He later selected this as the sole object to smuggle out of Austria in 1938, before Marie Bonaparte managed to transport the whole collection. She presented the statue to him in Paris as the family fled from Austria to London, putting them, as he writes her in thanks, "under the protection of Athena."

More indirect exploration of the issues raised by the spearless Athena must have come up in their discussions of her birthplace, Bethlehem, and the Moravian custom of holding lighted candles during the Christmas Eve service. "`The girls as well as the boys had candles?'" Freud asked. "It seemed odd that he should ask this," H.D. reflects in Advent (124). But she was pleased when he concluded: "`If every child had a lighted candle given, as you say they were given at your grandfather's Christmas Eve service, by the grace of God, we would have no more problems.... That is the true heart of all religion'" (124).

By the end of the first week, H.D. reassures Bryher, she had told Freud all about the "H.D.-Bryher saga." He had learned about her pregnancy in 1919, the fatherless child, Bryher's saving promise of the trip to Greece, and the idyllic month they spent in the Scilly Isles off the coast of Cornwall in July of 1919. Here H.D. had the first of the psychic experiences that she wrote about in Notes on Thought and Vision and discussed with Freud: the "`jelly-fish' experience," as Bryher named it. In Advent, she writes that a "bell-jar or half-globe as of transparent glass spread over my head like a diving-bell and another manifested from my feet, so enclosed I was [...] immunized or insulated from the war disaster" (116). She suggested that it must be "some form of pre-natal fantasy." "`Yes, obviously,'" Freud replied; "`you have found the answer, good-good'" (A 168).

The intensities of analysis were balanced by H.D.'s great pleasure in the "student life" of Vienna's coffeehouses. Her joy in being taken for an American "arzstudenten" should be read in the context of her father's plan for his favorite daughter to become a new Marie Curie and her failure at Bryn Mawr College. She withdrew from college, ill and broken, in 1906, after a semester and a half, having done poorly in English, Latin, and math. She had wanted to go to art school, she later writes, but her father had forbidden it (HN 2:26-27).

18: H.D. to Bryher and Kenneth Macpherson

[Hotel Regina, Vienna]
March 1. [1933]
Wed. after dinner.

I wrote Alice, and will see her, at her convenience, to-morrow or day after.

I staggered down Berg Gasse, having timed it to take about ten slow minutes, or eight fast, this morning. The entrance was lovely with wide steps and a statue in a court-yard before a trellis and gave me time to powder, only a gent with an attaché case emerged and looked at me knowingly, and I thought, "ah-the Professor's last" and found the door still open from his exit, to let enter cat, who was moaned over by a tiny stage-maid who took off the gun-metal rubbers and said I should not wear my coat. I stuck to the coat, was ushered into waiting room, and before I could adjust before joyless-street mirror, a little white ghost emerged at my elbow and I nearly fainted, it said "enter fair madame" and I did and a small but furry chow got up in the other room, and came and stood at my feet. God. I think if the chow hadn't liked me, I would have left, I was so scared by Oedipus. I shook all over, he said I must take off my coat, I said I was cold, he led me around room and I admired bits of Pompeii in red, a bit of Egyptian cloth and some authentic coffin paintings. A sphynx faces the bed. I did not want to go to bed, the white "napkin for the head" was the only professional touch, there were dim lights, like an opium dive. I started to talk about Sachs and Chaddie [Mary Chadwick] and my experience with ps-a. He said he would prefer me to recline. He has a real fur rug, and I started to tell him how turtle had none, he seemed vaguely shocked, then remarked, "I see you are going to be very difficult. Now although it is against the rules, I will tell you something: YOU WERE DISAPPOINTED, AND YOU ARE DISAPPOINTED IN ME." I then let out a howl, and screamed, "but do you not realize you are everything, you are priest, you are magician." He said, "no. It is you who are poet and magician." I then cried so I could hardly utter and he said that I had looked at the pictures, preferring the mere dead shreds of antiquity to his living presence.