05.11.2014

Doxemic Intensities: Robert Duncan’s H.D. Book

1. THE BOOK

At the core of Robert Duncan’s poetry is myth. He likely had a more complex and nuanced understanding of myth than any other American poet of the twentieth century. For Duncan, myth and poetry are the snakes entwined around Hermes’ caduceus, whose flowering rod bursting forth into wings H.D. waved like a sorcerer’s virga in the third volume of her epic serial poem Trilogy. In The H.D. Book, Duncan writes, “When the third volume of the Trilogy, The Flowering of the Rod, was published in 1946 I had found my book.”1 Out of that finding erupted his own work, The H.D. Book, Duncan’s ars poetica, never assembled until now, a book of mythos, logos, poetry, modernism (especially H.D.’s and Pound’s modernism), literary initiation, esotericism, and non-conformism. Its precedents are not so much the writings of his contemporary New American poets, such as Charles Olson or Robert Creeley (even as he took important ideas from them), nor the diatribes and correspondences of the modernists from whom he so clearly derived his art, such as Pound, Williams, Eliot, and H.D. The H.D. Book is most like Robert Graves’ The White Goddess, with which it shares some mythic convictions and anthropological and psychological methods; Emerson’s essays, especially in its discursiveness, circuitousness, and referentiality; and perhaps most of all Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria, in that like Coleridge Duncan uses poetry and his life story as a means for understanding literature and the world.

        The long-awaited publication of The H.D. Book makes the time right to assert the worth of Duncan’s claims about poetry, myth, and religion, particularly in the face of the dissipations and barbarisms of what passes for thought among contemporary poets, a thin draught in comparison to Duncan’s rich brew. For Duncan, myth is enactment: of narrative, of speech, of ritual, of the cosmos writ large. “Mythos and drômenon, gospel and rite, are events first of poetry” (HD 533). Poetry makes the cosmos legible: “Yet our roots are in the sky. Radical! The Milky Way appears, cross-section of our galaxy. In the earliest news out of heaven, what they said—the mythos—was that it was the slain body of the dragon, it was the flow of everlasting mothering milk, it was light, it was rhetoric, river, fluid. A stream of suns” (HD 205). It was light, it was rhetoric: that’s the universe for Duncan – light and language.

        “The Truth and Life of Myth,” Duncan’s essay in essential autobiography, particularly the opening, is his most authoritative pronouncement on myth, one, in my mind, as subtle and penetrating as Hesiod’s in The Theogony or Plato’s in The Republic. “Myth,” insists Duncan, “is the story told of what cannot be told, as mystery is the scene revealed of what cannot be revealed, and the mystic gnosis the thing known that cannot be known.” Myth is compulsive narrative. But it’s also restricted narrative, secret narrative. It cannot be told, revealed, known. Until, of course, it begins to reveal itself. He elaborates: “The myth-teller beside himself with the excitement of the dancers sucks in the inspiring breath and moans, muttering against his willful lips; for this is not a story of what he thinks or wishes life to be, it is the story that comes to him and forces his telling.”2 In one of the headpieces to the essay, Duncan quotes from Jane Harrison’s Themis, in which she in turn quotes Aristotle, “[Muthos] is the plot of the drômenon, for, says Aristotle, in a most instructive definition, by myth I mean the arrangement of incidents.” For Duncan, this disclosure of incidents is not merely ritual enactment of the events in a story; rather, it’s the coming into power through poetic permission—the story forces a telling, transforming the restricted, the taboo, into the enunciation of a place of first permission, “the true story of who I am.”3 Meditating in The H.D. Book on the Dionysian mystery cults, Duncan writes:

The mythos and dromenon of the Dionysia were a way of participating in the meaningful; the singers and dancers coming into the community of meanings, as the poet comes into such a community when he sings or recites as if our daily words were a language of poetry, having the power in themselves to mean, and our role in speaking were to evoke not to impose meanings. The things of the poem, the words in their musical phrasings, here, are sacra, charged with divine power, and give birth to poems as the poet sings, as the powers of stones, waters, winds, in men’s rites give birth to gods. (HD 315)

Duncan, I sense, is following Harrison’s claim in Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion that “Orpheus for all his lyre-playing is a priest or rather a ‘religious.’”4 Words are sacred powers the poet activates in mythic speech. “The intent of the poet,” claims Duncan, “is to arouse the content and form of the poem as the ritual devotee seeks to arouse the content and form of the god” (HD 315).

2. MYTHOS

Myth is an influence. It operates on our souls like an astrology. “The Concert: Passages 31,” the opening poem of Tribunals in Ground Work: Before the War, begins: “Out of the sun and the dispersing stars / go forth the elemental sparks, / outpouring vitalities,” continuing:

Yet the quality of the stars
reigneth in the spirit; tho the spirit can
and may raise or drown itself
in its own qualities, or take its life
in the influence of the stars, as it pleaseth.
For it is free. It has got for its own
the qualities it had in itself, its own

plot or myth, its feel
of what belongs to it 5

And later in the poem, Duncan channels Olson from his “Projective Verse” essay and Rudolf Bultmann from Theology of the New Testament to clarify the feeling of coming into the mythic power streaming down to the poet from the stars:

the Poet, his heart urgent,
    leaping beyond him,  writes:  “MOVE,
INSTANTER, ON ANOTHER!”    “Prophecy,

which uncovers the mystery of future events
but which also reveals what lurks in the heart
–prayers … song and especially ecstatic
speaking in tongues” 6

Myth is pentacostal, the flowing down of a spirit sanctified by poetry itself. Myth is ecstatic—the myth-teller beside himself with excitement. “To write at all is to dwell in the illusion of language, the rapture of communication that comes as we surrender our troubled individual isolated experiences to the communal consciousness” (HD 192). The illusion of language is a field of creative, associational forces where the poet activates the imagination, summoning the real. Myth is make believe.

        Poetry resurrects myth into new life from memories, dreams, static pulsations in the literary mind. “The art of the poem, like the mechanism of the dream or the intent of the tribal myth and dromena, is a cathexis: to keep present and immediate a variety of times and places, persons and events. In the melody we make, the possibility of eternal life is hidden, and experience we thought lost returns to us” (HD 168). Poetry is an esotericism of the actual, an actualization of hidden archetypes:

The drama of our time is the coming of all men into one fate, “the dream of everyone, everywhere.” The fate or dream is the fate of more than mankind. Our secret Adam is written in the script of the primal cell. We have gone beyond the reality of the incomparable nation or race, the incomparable Jehovah in the archetype of Man, the incomparable Book or Vision, the incomparable species, in which identity might find its place and defend its boundaries against an alien kind. All things have come now into their comparisons. But these comparisons are the correspondences that haunted Paracelsus, who saw also that the key to man’s nature was hidden in the design of the larger Nature. (HD 153)

The larger nature (the title of Pam Rehm’s most recent book of poetry) is the realm in which is enacted the drama telling the true story of who I am. The larger nature is the ominous location of the active intelligence where individual birth and becoming are cosmogonic. In defining the active intelligence, Henry Corbin writes, “By substituting a dramaturgy for a cosmology, the [writings of the visionary] guarantee the genuineness of the universe; it is verifiably the place of personally lived adventure.”7 The larger nature is the numinous meadow in which poetry comes into its first articulation:

Often I am permitted to return to a meadow
as if it were a given property of the mind
that certain bounds hold against chaos,

that is a place of first permission,
everlasting omen of what is.

3. THE DOXEME

Among the best-known proclamations in The H.D. Book is Duncan’s assertion that we should seek to transform Plato’s symposium, restricted in Plato’s time to an elite group of Athenians, into a gathering of a grand permission he called the symposium of the whole. “To compose such a symposium of the whole,” he declares, “all the excluded orders must be included. The female, the lumpen-proletariat, the foreign; the animal and vegetative; the unconscious and the unknown; the criminal and the failure—all that has been outcast and vagabond in our consideration of the figure of Man—must return to be admitted in the creation of what we are” (HD 154). For Duncan, the imagination requires inclusiveness.

        “Rites of Participation,” the chapter from which this quotation comes, is The H.D. Book in microcosm, amalgamating what makes Duncan’s prose so rewarding to read and so much more vivifying that nearly any poet’s prose in the present: mythology, esotericism, arm-chair anthropology, Christian theology, and an intensive reading of H.D.’s, Pound’s, Eliot’s, and Williams’ modernism vie with expressions of autobiography and poetics to form a generative turmoil from which he forms a curriculum and an ideology. Beginning with the statement of an essential esoteric principle – “Our secret Adam is written in the script of the primal cell” (which is to say that like the acorn containing the whole tree our cells contain the secret history of the cosmos)—Duncan asserts the necessity of a primitive cosmogony, one both archetypal and always arriving, matching antique time with vital present, and suggesting the reality of that larger nature we all should be compelled to discern in the symposium of the whole as well as in spirited comparisons of everyday insight (as when Duncan sees in the Christmas tree a glimmer of the Zoharic Tree of Life). As ever, Duncan’s drive is toward poetry and in the case of “Rites of Participation,” he summons these insights to provide a shrewd reading of H.D., Pound, Eliot, and Williams, each of whom represents the dream of everyone, everywhere that opens the chapter.

        In 1958, Claude Lévi-Strauss coined the word “mytheme” to refer to the structural units of narrative from which myths are constructed. He used the linguistic term “phoneme” as the pattern for his coinage. In his essay, “The Structural Study of Myth,” he asks, “How shall we proceed in order to identify and isolate these gross constituent units or mythemes? We know that they cannot be found among phonemes, morphemes, or sememes, but only on a higher level; otherwise myth would become confused with any other kind of speech. Therefore, we should look for them on the sentence level.” Mythemes are functional relations to be discerned in phrases and sentences. They are also symbolic realities to be assembled into larger wholes. Earlier in the same essay, Lévi-Strauss claims that as a linguistic expression, myth is the opposite of poetry. “Poetry is a kind of speech which cannot be translated except at the cost of serious distortions; whereas the mythical value of the myth is preserved even through the worst translation.”8 Mytheme is a dynamic term for something archetypal (though Lévi-Strauss would have avoided that word for its Jungian connotations) at work in the imagination expressed through language. Lévi-Strauss’ sense of poetry operating at the other end of a spectrum pinned down by myth mirrors a discovery of mine about poetic versus liturgical language. Many years ago, I wanted to generate a poem from the Orthodox Christian Easter liturgy. Try as I might, the poem I tried to write remained inert when mimicking liturgical properties. It dawned on me slowly that liturgical language is almost completely archetypal (put another way: preserved even through the worst translation). Its vitality is in context: the Orthodox Easter liturgy is incredibly moving and poetic in a church setting at the Easter vigil but harder to discern in a missal or text. Poetry, on the other hand, generates contexts through its kinesis: fluxional, vehicular, transformative. Ideally, it makes its magic happen whenever enacted in the reader’s voice or eye.

        I don’t know that Duncan ever used the term mytheme in his writings. But he seems in “Rites of Participation” to intuit the converging zone where myth and poetry coordinate, something we might regard through his own words as a place of first permission. Toward the end of “Rites of Participation,” Duncan writes, “If poetry has to do with enchantment and the imagination has traffic with what is not actual but a made-up world, if indeed these would-be serious poets wove a romance of the actual itself, then religion and art may both be fictional and the intensity of their truth and reality is the intensity needed to make what is not actual real” (HD 198). In other words, both poetry and religion are fictive certainties, imaginal properties of the mind that are “mine,” ways that we expand our lives into the larger nature of other lives, all lives, including those of all the excluded orders. “The reader of the poem must be just such an ardent lover as the communicant of the Mass, or the magic of the sacrament is all superstition and vanity” (HD 199). In other words, poets—the best poets—are sorcerers of trance and enchantment, enactors of the real through the “trance-voice of religious evocation.”

        Following Lévi-Strauss, and in the spirit of Duncan’s conviction that “the poet is to make real what is only real in a heightened sense,” I am coining a new word, doxeme, to refer to the irreducible core of religious imagination from which thought is constructed and out of which its praises emerge, with a special emphasis on poetry and poetic thought. My word begins with the Greek root doxa, for praise, but includes the religious context in which such praise is voiced (I’m thinking of the use of this root in orthodoxy and heterodoxy, for instance; or its use in doxology, which, in Christian liturgy, is any ascription of praise to God). Duncan’s sense of poetry—as demonstrated repeatedly in The H.D. Book—is doxemic: the requirement of praising the convergences of myth and poetry and how they form the convictions from which belief springs forth, in Duncan’s case a conviction that “Logos is the creator of the world” (HD 160) and that Christ is a persona of a world-poem (HD 199).

4. LOGOS

This is all just beginning to form in my thought. Though the idea that Duncan was a religious poet is not necessarily so foreign (some bridle at the implications of the word “religious,” however), the notion that he was a Christian poet goes against his own confessions. “I have written elsewhere that I am unbaptized, uninitiated, ungraduated, unanalyzed. I had in mind that my worship belonged to no church, that my mysteries belonged to no cult, that my learning belonged to no institution, that my imagination of my self belonged to no philosophical system. My thought must be without sanction” (HD 69). What Duncan believes in is Eros—“The work, the ground, and Eros lie at the heart of our study here” (HD 79)—especially as narrated in the myth of Eros and Psyche, a reading of which occupies an entire chapter of The H.D. Book and which informs the content of one of his masterpieces, “A Poem Beginning with a Line by Pindar.” But one of the curious things that has come through for me in giving myself over to re-reading this book is that the mythos to which Duncan adheres is not that of Eros but rather of Logos, specifically articulated as a Christian Logos. This is not the Jesus of the Church but an esoteric Logos. The editors of The H.D. Book, Michael Boughn and Victor Coleman, helpfully claim that the master word that haunts the book is occult (HD 4). Duncan clarifies what he means in terms of H.D.: “The Christ of H.D.’s trilogy is not the Christ of church prescription but of the imagination, related to the Christ of the mysteries, the Christos-Angelos of Gnostic myth and the Angel Amor of the Vita Nuova” (HD 519). What haunts Duncan in the Christ mythos is the mystery of the story, the Logos changed from man to poem: “There is in the man and in the god a perfume and a radiance, a flower that portends; and in the passions of the two in One upon the cross or tree, we see the ripeness of what the story demands, the mystery of the whole thing in which nails, blood, and the cry, the Eli, eli, lama sabachthani are designed to fit, to charge with meaning to the utmost degree, the crisis of the poem enacted” (HD 558). Crisis comes from the Greek root verb krinein, meaning to separate, to decide. It also means judgment; in fact, in the Gospel of John, Christ says, “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man” (John 5: 26-7). The Greek word for judgment here is krisin, crisis. The crisis of the poem enacted is frequently Duncan’s harsh judgment when critics and poets don’t apprehend the demands of the story, the narrative, the myth. Duncan even berates Pound for not getting the meaning of Christ, thus shutting himself off from a stream of considerable meaning for his Cantos.

        Duncan’s interest in the Logos also puts for me a poem like “The Law I Love Is Major Mover” into a more particular light. As Boughn and Coleman point out in their introduction, The H.D. Book is in part Duncan’s response to Randall Jarrell’s dismissal of H.D.’s Trilogy in a review as “silly.” In her poem, H.D. conscientiously identifies with John the Revelator, who wrote, “I, John, testify.” (H.D. quotes this line in her poem.) “It was this testimony,” write Boughn and Coleman, “that Jarrell dismissed as ‘silly’” (HD 9). Duncan’s poem, the third in The Opening of the Field, begins with its title functioning as the first line:

THE LAW I LOVE IS MAJOR MOVER

from which flow destructions of the Constitution.
No nation stands unstirred
in whose courts. I, John, testify:
I saw.

The poem concludes:

Look!            the Angel that made a man of Jacob
            made Israël in His embrace

was the Law,    was Syntax.

          Him I love is major mover.

Duncan’s poem locates Aristotle’s and Aquinas’ unmoved mover along with Dante’s Love which moves the sun and the other stars into a conceptualizing of language itself, spelled out in the mythic narrative of Jacob wrestling the Angel of God to have his name changed – a law of syntax. “The Law I Love Is Major Mover” is followed immediately in The Opening of the Field by the first installment of “The Structures of Rime,” in which Duncan commands, “I ask the unyielding Sentence that shows Itself forth in the language as I make it, / Speak! For I name myself your master, who come to serve,” adding, “O Lasting Sentence, / sentence after sentence I make in your image. In the feet that measure the dance of my pages I hear cosmic intoxications of the man I will be” (OF 12). “The Structures of Rime” begins as an invocation of the Law of Logos, a dance of the intellect among the words.

5. PRAISE

        If Duncan’s book is doxemic, then what does it praise along with the hidden logos? Put another way, what does the doxeme consist of? To my mind, two things besides the logos: first, and perhaps foremost, myth. And second, modernism. Duncan provides his doxemic readings of logos, myth, and modernism in two intertwined modes: a description of esotericism as a theory of literature; and autobiography. As is well known, Duncan was raised by adoptive parents who were Theosophists. Esotericism was his birthright. I’ve covered myth and logos in The H.D. Book enough already; let me describe Duncan’s esoteric mode and how it compels his doxemic reading of modernism.

        Duncan calls poetry the work of creation. “It is also the opus alchymicum of Hermetic and Rosicrucian alchemy. The rhymes of this poetry are correspondences, workings of figures and patterns of figures in which we apprehend the whole we do not see.” Literature is occult. The act of revealing its secrets is like the alchemical quest for the lapis philosophorum: laborious, mystical, technical, enduringly illuminating. Duncan connects this work directly to myth: “Our work is to arouse in a contemporary consciousness reverberations of old myth, to prepare the ground so that when we return to read we will see our modern texts charged with a plot that had already begun before the first signs and signatures we have found were worked upon the walls of Altamira or Pech-Merle” (HD 79). Antoine Faivre, the great scholar of hermeticism, identifies six characteristics of esotericism: correspondences; living nature; imagination and mediations; experience of transmutation; praxis of the concordance; transmission.9 The ease with which Duncan expressed his occultism means glimmers of all six of these characteristics shine throughout his work, especially in The H.D. Book. Principally, Duncan viewed literature as a secret lore into which the petitioning poet is initiated by powerful summons and potent, sometimes oppressive, forces. Once initiated, the poet works to transmute the experience of entering this secret knowledge into new work. Our work is to arouse in a contemporary consciousness reverberations of old myth. Through that work and through a devotion to the work, the poet transmits the tradition to new poets. It’s the narrative of this transmission that makes the opening chapters of The H.D. Book so rich and exciting: he describes his initiation in intimate detail—hearing H.D.’s poem “Heat” in an English class; reading Joyce’s poetry aloud with two young women on Berkeley’s campus while ignoring the summons to line up for ROTC training; immersing himself in H.D. and Pound.

        In their introduction, Boughn and Coleman refer to Duncan’s work as “ deeply anti-literary in just about every way possible.” Even though they are reinforcing their claim that Duncan’s book is not a work of literary criticism, I find this statement puzzling. I think what they mean to say is that The H.D. Book is not a work of an academic scholar. But for me it’s one of the great literary readings of modernist poetry that exists, as good and lucid as Hugh Kenner’s The Pound Era, one of the few other works that crackles with the same kind of intensity and from which you can learn so much about how modern poetry works. Furthermore, Duncan is an incredibly literary poet: his work is saturated in praise of the literary, the fictive, the imaginal, and the inventive. Add to this that Duncan’s reading of modernism—entering it through the gate of H.D.’s hermeticism and eroticism as he did—depends on his intuitions of the occult in the poetical, recognizing, reifying, and ruining correspondences, transmutations, and concordances in the literature he would quickly devote himself to.

        Duncan has such an austere, magical, and traditional sense of poetry and literature, the arguments he makes in his book and the readings he conducts increase in stature through its course. H.D. and Pound receive the greatest focus. Though it could be called nothing other than The H.D. Book, Duncan’s is also a Book of Pound. These poets were complements: as H.D. was the poet of a Rosicrucian mystery, Pound was the poet of a phantom dawn from which the Spirit of Romance emerged. And both were necessary for the art form. Only H.D. has more entries in the index than Pound. “My vision of poetry has been drawn from Carlyle as well as from Whitman, from Dante, from Burckhardt, from Pater and Symonds as well as from Pound and Olson—whenever another man’s vision leads my spirit towards a larger feeling. And there has been a fire, a fire of anger that rose, as I found the Romantic spirit and back of that the Spirit of Romance and back of that the cult of life as a romance of the spirit belonged to an order that was under attack or was under boycott” (HD 434). Duncan’s focus on Pound in this book is telling. He felt that by attending carefully to Pound’s work—while aware of its problems and shortcomings—many of the secrets of poetry would be revealed.

        It’s somewhat common in theories of esotericism to perceive the universe as unified by fluid, such that, in the astrological sense, the qualities of the macrocosm flow into the microcosm. The medium of correspondences is an ethereal influence, an imaginal solution of sympathies and antipathies. I think it’s fair to say Duncan adhered to this basic sense of things but he added to it an ingenious ability to perceive time, history, and evolution with comparable fluidity, and furthermore to visualize the imagination at work with a similar dynamic such that mythos, logos, and esoteros coil together into a coherent braid:

There is an evolution of life-forms, experiences, yet they exist one in another; the work of art itself contains in its processes the beauty of the shell and the beauty of the Christos or Logos that in the human world has specific manhood. The image of the whole poem is so thrown upon the imagination or aroused in the imagination, “fixed or moving,” that “fixed” as it appears as a tapestry; “moving” it is the path of something happening on different levels in time, it has plot or mythos. Co-existence in the configuation of the poem and evolution in the history or course of the poem’s creation give the dynamics. (HD 324)

6. CORRECTION: THE PRESENT

The appearance of The H.D. Book at this time is exciting. Initial reviews focused on the sense of it as an alternative to, or more intensely as a remedy for, current poetic thinking. An early and euphoric review by Jed Perl, the art critic for The New Republic, most completely captures this feeling. It’s entitled, “Magnum Opus: The book that could save American art” and begins, “I am besotted with a new book that is also an old book,” continuing, “[a]t a time such as ours, when artists are either embattled or co-opted, either locked away in some ivory tower of their own invention or overtaken by market forces and political forces, Duncan argues for the most strenuous artistic ambitions as a dynamic democratic possibility.”10 It’s Duncan’s unreconstructed Romanticism, or, if I may put it this way, his doxemic intensity, that appeals to Perl as a solution to the doldrums. Other high-profile reviews assert similar enthusiasms, such as Ange Mlinko’s review for The Nation, in which she identifies Duncan’s atypical interest in women’s poetry and his nonconformism more generally as antidotes to current literary thinking.11 In these pieces and others (including reviews by Erik Davis for Bookforum and Peter Campion for Poetry), there’s the feeling that Duncan’s book is refreshing because it represents an alternative to current ways of thinking and writing about poetry.
What if, however, Duncan’s book is not so much an alternative as a corrective? What if the reason Jed Perl can gush with pleasure over Duncan’s book is that in addition to presenting “strenuous artistic ambitions as a dynamic democratic possibility,” it’s also right where so much written in the past fifty years is wrong? In The H.D. Book, Duncan asserts several convictions unfashionable in the ensuing decades: that myth is at the root of poetry; that belief authors poetic power; that poetry is a collective dream; that H.D. is at the center of modernism; and that Pound, along with H.D., was its most important practitioner. Furthermore, he expresses these convictions in the form of a digressive, insightful, exploratory prose that tends toward long and complex articulations, rather than the clipped, fragmentary, and aphoristic utterances so commonly fobbed off these days as “poetics.” I’ve nursed my own conviction that as of yet the shift of poetry from books, print journals, and correspondence over to an internet of websites, blogs, aggregators, and social networks has yet to produce a poet or a poetics of much worth. Despite the absence of length restrictions in electronic media, poetic thinking in the age of the internet has tended toward short little unthoughtful bits. Bad prose whiffing of the poetic without particular substance. There’s nothing on the internet that can match the depth and substance of Duncan’s book.

        I hope, then, amid all this enthusing over the appearance (“finally!”) of The H.D. Book, there might be a reckoning with our poetic present. Can we start thinking intelligently and passionately about poetry again? Can we admit that Pound, not aside from but including his political flaws, is the poet from whom to learn the most about modernism in English? Can we accept that H.D.’s Trilogy is the masterpiece of late modernism? And can we start taking and talking about myth seriously again in our writing about this blessed art form?


  1. Robert Duncan, The H.D. Book, edited by Michael Boughn and Victor Coleman, the Collected Writings of Robert Duncan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011), p. 217.

  2. Robert Duncan, Fictive Certainties (New York: New Directions, 1985), p. 1.

  3. Duncan, Fictive Certainties, 2.

  4. Jane Ellen Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), p. 567.

  5. Robert Duncan, Ground Work: Before the War (New York: New Directions, 1984), p. 11.

  6. Duncan, Ground Work, 12.

  7. Henry Corbin, Avicenna and the Visionary Recital, translated by Willard R. Trask (Princeton: Bollingen Series LXVI, 1960), p. 4.

  8. Claude Lévi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology, translated by Claire Jacobsen and Brooke Grundfest Schoepf (New York: Basic Books, 1963), pp. 210, 211.

  9. In Arthur Versluis, Magic and Mysticism: An Introduction to Western Esotericism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), pp. 7-8.

  10. Jed Perl, “Magnum Opus: The book that could save American art,” The New Republic online, accessed August 30, 2011.

  11. See Ange Mlinko, “Duncan’s Divagations: on Robert Duncan and H.D,” The Nation online, accessed August 30, 2011.

Peter O'Leary (© 2014)