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Pilates Wife Paperback – Jul 4 2000


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From Library Journal

H.D. is the pseudonym used by notable Twenties poet Hilda Doolittle. Telling Pilate's story from the viewpoint of his wife, Claudia Procula, H.D. is quick to point out that she preferred to refer to Claudia as "Veronica" to help visualize the story. The name change didn't help. As Veronica, a bored Roman court wife, dabbles with her lovers and intrigues, one of her lovers arranges for her to visit a seer named Mnevis. The seer opens a new world to Veronica, and as escape from her nebulous dissatisfaction becomes the focus of her life, she devotes herself to plotting to help a condemned prisoner named Jesus escape execution. While the story hints that Jesus escaped death by being drugged and spirited away by Roman soldiers, the novelty of this angle is lost in the tedium of the writing. Although the story would have been shocking had it been published in its time, today it will interest only H.D. scholars at best. Contemporary collections can choose James R. Mills's Memoirs of Pontius Pilate (LJ 4/1/00) instead.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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[H.D.] showed a way to penetrate mystery; which means, not to flood darkness with light so that darkness is destroyed, but to enter into darkness, mystery, so that it is experienced. -- Denise Levertov

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Names held small part in her consideration, yet she spelled her own arduously, sensing in its hard and pebble-like lustre, some unknown element. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing to say the least Dec 27 2004
By M. J. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This novel was started in 1924, completed in 1929, revised in 1934 and rejected for publication by Houghton Mifflin. It was revised again in the 50's and eventually published - in defference to its historical important I presume. The novel is worthy of its rejection. It is similar to D. H. Lawrence's The Man Who Died in its presenting the death and resurrection of Jesus as a trick played with drugs - a denial of the miraculous in keeping with its era. Its feminism is based on an attempted renewal of classical religious images - Egyptian, Greek, Mithraic, ... - with a superficial presentation of these religions in a high didactic style and plot. Even fans of H.D. will be disappointed. Nonetheless, it does provide background for a greater appreciation of the environment in which it was written and of the development of H.D. thought.

Read it as literary history and it is useful; read it as novel and it leaves much to be desired.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Novel seeks religious values July 29 2012
By Jack Alan Robbins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting but not great unpublished novel from Hilda Doolittle written in the late 1920s. This novel does illustrate the point that H.D. was very much concerned with the search for religious values in a variety of cultures and myths and seeking above all for a relationship between the divine and the feminine. The best expression of this is, of course, in her poem sequence Trilogy, which I regard as one of the most important American long poems of the 20th century. I do consider H.D. a great poet, long or short poems. I rank her with William Carlos Williams, T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, as different as each is from the other here, still, all great poets.


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