Kora and Ka

Overview

Written by H. D. in 1930 and only published in a 100-copy edition for friends in 1934, Kora and Ka marked a new level of intensity in the poet's experiments with prose fiction. The two long stories contained in this volume, "Kora and Ka" and "Mira-Mare," are at once profoundly autobiographical yet, through H. D.'s unusual brand of modernist story-telling, pushed beyond personality. The men and women who haunt these tales are wraiths in spiritual exile, wanderers in a Europe still recovering from the devastations ...
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Overview

Written by H. D. in 1930 and only published in a 100-copy edition for friends in 1934, Kora and Ka marked a new level of intensity in the poet's experiments with prose fiction. The two long stories contained in this volume, "Kora and Ka" and "Mira-Mare," are at once profoundly autobiographical yet, through H. D.'s unusual brand of modernist story-telling, pushed beyond personality. The men and women who haunt these tales are wraiths in spiritual exile, wanderers in a Europe still recovering from the devastations of World War I. Her descriptions of the beaches at Monte Carlo are triumphs of vivid detail - bright watercolors set against brooding psychological portraits. In its exploration of the "broken dualities" of self and civilization, Kora and Ka looks forward to H. D.'s masterpieces, Tribute to Freud and Trilogy.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In recent years, Hilda Doolittle (Helen in Egypt) has gained attention as much for her unconventional life as for her poems. Finally, fans of this important American imagist have the chance to read the two exquisite stories in this tiny volume and to judge more of her work on its merits and, probably, on certain parallels to her life. This is the first readily available edition of Kora & Ka; 100 copies were printed for the author's friends in 1934, and a 1978 edition by a small poetry press was also limited, to 600 copies. Publication is long overdue. A thorough introduction by Spoo provides helpful background-and also helps fill some 11 of the 112 pages. The first story, "Kora and Ka," uses images of duality to present a man's mental breakdown. He feels possessed by his Ka (an Egyptian "shadow" spirit), talks of himself in the first and third person, confesses his love for both men and women, and explains his predicament in terms of division: "There are two things that mitigate against me, one is my mind, one is the lack of it." The second story, "Mira-Mare," also portrays a troubled soul, here a woman at the seashore. She feels as happy as a child though, as she muses, "then, she had not been too happy. A child is not too happy." In fact, "happiness was a new garment... It was snug, fitted her like her paint-box blue rubber beach shoes." In both tales, as in her poems, H.D.'s writing is suffused with images of nature, of the ancient world and of colors. On one page alone, various things are described as "coral-hued," "chimney sweep-black," "smoke-blue" and "near-bronze." This is not one of H.D.'s masterworks, and both stories are more mood pieces than anything else, but as a piece of "lost" writing and as a work in its own right, Kora & Ka certainly deserves more than the few hundred readers it once had. (Apr.)
Library Journal
This slim 1930 volume contains two short stories, "Kora & Ka" and "Mira-Mare." Set in Europe, both portray characters recovering from the ravages of World War I.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811213172
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 4/1/1996
  • Series: Bibelots Series
  • Pages: 112
  • Lexile: 970L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.76 (w) x 6.95 (h) x 0.33 (d)

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