To the Editors:
Ange Mlinko’s assessment of HERmione and Donna Krolik Hollenberg’s e book about H.D. [NYR, October 6, 2022] says, “With out Bryher there would have been no H.D. as we all know her right now.”
That just about sums issues up. Nevertheless, the assessment can be mean-spirited and fallacious about Bryher herself, saying that H.D. was the “saved girl” of an “English millionaire,” when, with out Bryher’s care and help, H.D., who herself had no monetary sources, might hardly have survived. Mlinko additionally says Bryher was “autocratic and manipulative,” and that her adoption of H.D.’s daughter, Perdita, was “undoubtedly…tactical,” suggesting self-interested conniving.
I met Bryher in later years. (Her books at the moment have been printed by my mother and father, at Pantheon.) She was a quiet, direct individual, a loyal good friend, and terribly and unobtrusively beneficiant to many. The document of her essential assist for literary individuals from the Nineteen Twenties on and her work for the displaced, particularly Jewish refugees, throughout World Conflict II is well-known. Bryher’s private qualities deserve higher.
Strauss Professor of Music and Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus
Hanover, New Hampshire