Helen in Egypt by Hilda Doolittle
Poetry (New Directions Books)

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Synopsis

A fifty-line
fragment by the poet Stesichorus of Sicily (c. 640-555 B.C.), what
survives of his Pallinode, tells us almost all we know of this other
Helen, and from it H. D. wove her book-length poem.

The fabulous beauty of Helen of Troy is legendary. But some say that
Helen was never in Troy, that she had been conveyed by Zeus to Egypt,
and that Greeks and Trojans alike fought for an illusion. A fifty-line
fragment by the poet Stesichorus of Sicily (c. 640-555 B.C.), what
survives of his Pallinode, tells us almost all we know of this other
Helen, and from it H. D. wove her book-length poem. Yet Helen in Egypt
is not a simple retelling of the Egyptian legend but a recreation of
the many myths surrounding Helen, Paris, Achilles, Theseus, and other
figures of Greek tradition, fused with the mysteries of Egyptian
hermeticism.
 

About Hilda Doolittle

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H.D. (1886-1961) (the pen name of Hilda Doolittle) was born in the Moravian community of Bethlehem, PA in 1886. A major twentieth century poet with “an ear more subtle than Pound’s, Moore’s, or Yeats’s” as Marie Ponsot writes, she was the author of several volumes of poetry, fiction, essays, and memoirs. She is perhaps one of the best-known and prolific women poets of the Modernist era. Bryher Ellerman was a novelist and H.D.’s wealthy companion. She financed H.D.’s therapy with Freud.
 
Published January 17, 1974 by New Directions. 304 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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