Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Richard Fine


Though H.D.’s direct involvement in film was limited to a brief six-year period between the wars, I argue that the theory of cinematic montage inevitably impacted H.D.’s insight into war and trauma during the final years of World War II. Montage first emerged in the wake of World War I from a particular need to psychologically engage the post-war citizen. As I explain, montage transformed the passive viewer into an active participant, allowing victims of war-shock to confront and communicate trauma. When H.D. witnessed the desolated cityscape of London 25 years later during World War II — “a city of ruin, a world ruined…almost past redemption” — she sought an artistic solution to trauma and war-shock (Tribute to Freud 84). I claim that for H.D., this solution presented itself in the modern long poem and intellectual montage theory. While H.D. never explicitly stated a link between the cinema and her written work, her thinking about film through montage theory can be clearly read within her epic war poem Trilogy, written between 1944 and 1946. In its three poetic sections, H.D. uses poetic montage as a technique to remember and resolve both past and present trauma. Montage functions not only as an effect, through the deployment of various poetic techniques, but also as a way of thinking about history and experience. Exploring the ways in which H.D. uses montage as both technique and theory, I observe Trilogy as an expression of recovery and redemption. H.D. transforms the raw, observable destruction of her current reality into an optimistic vision of the future, both for herself personally and for other survivors of war.


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