Sacred belonging: writing, religion and community in H.D.’s World War II novels

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This paper considers two works from H.D.’s WWII writing, The Gift and The Sword Went Out to Sea. In these texts, H.D. situates herself in the context of diverse intimate communities; her spiritualist circle, her partnership with Bryher, her family and previous generations of Moravians. These communities ground her personal vision of writing as a spiritual exercise that will bring healing to both the individual psyche and the wider society ravaged by war. The significance of community is such that when she becomes isolated, desolation and breakdown follow. The restoration of communication and community through vision and writing leads to healing and a particular understanding of religious modernism as a unity of spiritual and material, transcendent and ordinary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-286
Number of pages16
JournalWomen: A Cultural Review
Issue number3
Early online date30 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • H.D.
  • religion
  • spiritualism
  • writing
  • modernism


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