Helen in Egypt

Finalist, National Book Awards 1962 for Poetry

Helen in Egypt by H D Hild Doolittle book cover
ISBN 978-0811205443
New Directions | Grove Press
H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) author photo
H. D. (Hilda Doolittle)

More about this author >

Award Years

Award Status

Award Categories

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.

X