HELEN OF TROY by John Pollard

HELEN OF TROY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Her name still spells romance even in these unromantic days, while her birth from an egg stirs the imagination by its mixture of quaintness and sin."" She is the stuff of dreams for the classicist. The daughter of Leda and Zeus, who made this particular conquest in the form of a swan, her beauty caused trouble early: before she was of marriageable age, Theseus abducted her and her brothers Castor and Pollux sacked Athens to reclaim her. All the great heroes save Achilles, ""who was still a boy,"" vied for her hand. She lived happily with Menelaus for nine years before Priam's son Paris took her by storm and she deserted husband and child to follow him to Troy. Then the cataclysm, the return... Who was she? Was she at all? Was she goddess or heroine? Did she really go to Troy or send a double? Was she the woman of misfortune pictured in the Iliad or the force illustrated in the Odyssey? Pollard follows all the clues, including Schliemann's archeological ones, and concludes of her appearance in Homer that ""in view of the traditional nature of the epic"" it is highly unlikely that she was a mere figure of fiction. As for her power to create disaster, he ranks her with Eve and Pandora. A classical flirtation.

Publisher: Roy