“Are we dead?”: time in H. D.’s dialogue with Freud

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This paper presents H. D.’s dialogue with Freud on the theme of time and timelessness. Freud presented a conception of time that varied in accordance with the various levels of consciousness. But while linear time is presented in Freud’s writing as an essential part of development and mourning, timelessness has not been fully developed as such. A discussion of Freud’s conception of time is followed by a reading of H. D.’s memoir Tribute to Freud. H. D. offers a series of reminiscences of different periods in her life, with an emphasis on her analysis and on Freud. The reading of the memoir presents an intense and stimulating narrative of the encounter with Freud at the time of analysis and in après-coup. This translation revolves around timelessness as a path into a realm of imagination and fantasy, not sufficiently acknowledged by Freud as such, yet crucial to H. D.’s quest for an innovative poetic voice. The significance and elusiveness of timelessness is discussed using ideas from André Green and Walter Benjamin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-314
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Psychoanalysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Institute of Psychoanalysis.


  • French psychoanalysis (non-Lacanian)
  • Freudian theory
  • History of psychoanalysis
  • literature
  • time
  • unconscious

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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