H.D.'s autobiographical novel HERmione is phenomenological in texture. It portrays both sides of a dynamic process: the individual "creates" the world by adjusting a "psychic lens," projecting a mental space in which objects can appear; yet at the same time, the world imposes itself on the sensing subject. The framework within which this dynamic process occurs is the body; as the novel portrays, the body is the site of juxtapositions and transformations as it comes into contact with the world. In this article, I discuss the ways in which H.D. explores the boundaries and intersections between the human body and the world around it. I will draw on several influential feminist critiques of the novel, exploring how these critiques illuminate the social and sexual forces at work behind Hermione's experiences, and I will in turn introduce phenomenological theory to expand upon the prevailing critical view of the novel. I assert that Hermione's body is both the setting and the subject of HERmione. Even as she is objectified by both specific individuals and by the social forces at work in her world, her body reacts in unique ways to counteract this tendency. Her body transforms, and her perceptions blur the lines between subject and object, person and thing. As Hermione begins to develop an understanding of the way she encounters the world, she also develops the ability to act within it. Her body becomes prosthetic, encompassing otherness and ultimately allowing her to move beyond the relationships and expectations which threaten to confine her in a solely "decorative" life.



College and Department

Humanities; English



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H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), HERmione, phenomenology, thing theory, body