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The Private Life of Helen of Troy by John…

The Private Life of Helen of Troy (1925)

by John Erskine

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Well, it wasn't the salacious version that the title would seem to promise. It's got a certain homage to pay to Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde. Menelaus did forgive her and take her back home again after all that sailing and killing. So how does one live with her after that? Erskine's urbanity is a treasure. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 27, 2013 |
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The point of the story is that Paris gave the prize to Aphrodite, not because she bribed him, but because she was beautiful. After all, it was a contest in beauty, though Athena and Hera started a discussion about wisdom and power. It was they who tried to bribe him. They had their merits and they had arguments, but Aphrodite was the thing itself.
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Postmodernists from Donald Barthelme to Haruki Murakami are following in the semi-surreal detached irony of Erskine's book. This book is a masterpiece. There's no other word for it. Plus there's no real sense in trying to "describe" it, since the tone is everything.
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A fictionalisation of the secret life of Helen of Troy, the woman whose beauty caused the fabled Trojan War.

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