In response to:

Timeless Correspondences from the October 6, 2022 issue

To the Editors:

Ange Mlinko’s review of HERmione and Donna Krolik Hollenberg’s book about H.D. [NYR, October 6, 2022] says, “Without Bryher there would have been no H.D. as we know her today.”

That pretty much sums things up. However, the review is also mean-spirited and wrong about Bryher herself, saying that H.D. was the “kept woman” of an “English millionaire,” when, without Bryher’s care and assistance, H.D., who herself had no financial resources, could hardly have survived. Mlinko also 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 that time were published by my parents, at Pantheon.) She was a quiet, direct person, a loyal friend, and extraordinarily and unobtrusively generous to many. The record of her crucial support for literary people from the 1920s on and her work for the displaced, especially Jewish refugees, during World War II is well known. Bryher’s personal qualities deserve better.

Christian Wolff
Strauss Professor of Music and Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus
Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire