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Childhood and the ClassicsBritain and America, 1850-1965$
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Sheila Murnaghan and Deborah H. Roberts

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583478

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199583478.001.0001

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Pan in the Alps

Pan in the Alps

Child and Adult in H.D.’s The Hedgehog

(p.255) 7 Pan in the Alps
Childhood and the Classics

Sheila Murnaghan

Deborah H. Roberts

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on The Hedgehog, an autobiographical novella by H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) that straddles the division between children’s and adult literature and exposes an adult’s stake in a child’s connection to antiquity. The plot concerns a young girl living in the Swiss Alps who has been taught by her mother to see the world through the lens of mythology. Thoughts shaped by this teaching allow her to fulfill her mother’s hopes for an end to class division (as when she identifies a woodcutter’s son with the god Pan) and, in the wake of World War I, to international conflict. At the same time, H.D. evokes the mythic paradigm of Demeter and Persephone to allow for a daughter’s independence of her mother, as well as the child reader’s independence of the adult author.

Keywords:   H.D, Hilda Doolittle, The Hedgehog, Pan, Persephone, Demeter, World War I, mothers and daughters

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