What does Edgar's poem To Helen mean?

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What does Edgar's poem to helen written in 18 31 different from helen written by Hilda Doolittle.

-- Anonymous, March 26, 2001



In the interest of brevity, I have sent you a summary of Poe's "To Helen" via e-mail. While I am only peripherally familiar with Hilda Doolittle and her work, I am a little more familiar with her "Helen" written in, I believe, 1928. Curiously, my awareness of this work by HD is due to some research into Poe's poetry some years back when I had read a comparison of these two poems that had been written one hundred years apart.

Poe's "To Helen" was most likely written prior to 1828 but was first included in his volume "Poems" which was first published in 1831. Poe had dedicated this poem to Ms. Jane Stanard, a pretty matron of Richmond, Virginia and mother of a boyhood friend. Interestingly, both poems deal with beauty and a characterization of the ideal classical beauty of Helen of Troy.

While Poe's poem was a celebration of beauty in verse, Ms. Doolittle's appears to draw a portrait of a Helen of Troy as the victim of the very beauty for which she is adored and worshipped and is, at once, hated and reviled by the very Greeks that admired and worshiped her. Curiously absent from HD's poem is any mention of the Trojan War or any traditional imagery of Helen as less than an innocent as suggested by the works of Homer and Euripides.


-- Anonymous, March 28, 2001


Regretfully, your listed address appears to be rejecting e-mail or you have used a bad e-mail address. Sorry.

-- Anonymous, March 28, 2001

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