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Holland, N.N. (1969). Freud and H.D.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 50:309-315.

(1969). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 50:309-315

Freud and H.D.

Norman N. Holland

Behind the initials which, like a signet, she used to identify all her work, was the woman, Hilda Doolittle. She was a well-known poet, and her hours with Freud, she tells us, were 'four days a week from five to six; one day, from twelve to one' (Aldington, 1956). She saw him altogether about a hundred hours, on the couch, and she wrote a book about it, a book, I find, read by few students of psychoanalysis, though it is, so far as I know, the only extended account by a sympathetic analysand of an analysis (or something like an analysis) with Freud himself. Jones (1953–7), for example, does not even mention Hilda Doolittle.

H.D.'s Tribute to Freud is short (168 pages), elliptical, a rather cryptic series of more or less free associations. Rife with mystical and mythological references, the book conceals as it reveals, although, inevitably, the poetess exposes enough of her own psyche to enable one to make connections between her life-style and her poetic style (Holland, 1969). The book was written in London in autumn 1944, based on a diary she had kept in Vienna in 1933 (but left in Switzerland during World War II and so not consulted during the writing of the book in 1944). It is composed as a series of memories in free association so that details about Freud come in as they mingle with the visions and themes of H.D.'s own life. Yet, with a little persistence and reading between the lines, the reminiscences can be unscrambled to give a clear and, I believe, unique picture of Freud's style as a therapist.

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