TheConsolationofThings:Domestic Objects in H.D.’s Writing from the Second World War

Elizabeth Anderson


This paper analyses the spiritual consolation of domestic objects – Christmas decorations, food, flowers – in the writing of the American writer H.D. The paper asks how H.D.’s engage- ment with crafting material things formed a spiritual response to the time of crisis in which she wrote her mature poetry and prose. The paper analyses the prose texts The Gift and »Writing on the Wall« as well as the poem »Christmas 1944« whilst also drawing upon archival research into H.D.’s letters of the period as intertexts for the autobiographical writing. The French theorist Hélène Cixous’s writing on the gift forms a framework for considering gift exchange amongst H.D.’s friends as a process of crafting community in the face of trau- ma. In H.D.’s work ordinary things become extraordinary and create pathways towards healing and consolation.

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