Books: The Astronomer's Daughter

HERSELF DEFINED: THE POET H.D. AND HER WORLD by Barbara Guest; Doubleday; 360 pages; $18.95

Near the end of her life, Hilda Doolittle might be seen in Manhattan crossing Fifth Avenue from the Stanhope Hotel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tall, gray poet would head for the Pompeian frescoes and classical statues and then for the museum's restaurant to eat apple pie and ice cream for lunch. It was 1960 and H.D., as she signed herself, had come home briefly from Europe to receive the Gold Medal from the American Academy of...

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