Re-flowered: An ecofeminist reading of H.D.'s Sea Garden

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University of New Brunswick


While often cited as the exemplar of imagism, the modernist poet H.D.’s 1916 collection, Sea Garden, has been critically avoided in recent decades, redirecting scholarly focus to her later, more spiritually engaged writing. Overcompensating for previous neglect of H.D.’s work, this avoidance has likewise led many contemporary critical theories, such ecocriticism, to be eschewed despite the potential insights offered through their application. This thesis argues that H.D.’s unique poetic exploration of nature and the feminine in Sea Garden forms an imagined ‘eco-system’ and reveals it to be an explicitly ecofeminist and new materialist work. By closely reading the collection from this perspective, new interpretations drawn from the text facilitate a deeper understanding of H.D.’s personal philosophies concerning communion between humanity and nature. These concepts can then be identified throughout her subsequent novels and collections, revealing Sea Garden as setting an important thematic precedent to the rest of her life’s work.