The poem is as easy to read as breathing: it could be danced, it could be sung, the clarity of image is so perfect… Tremendous suggestiveness and magnetic force radiate from the scenes… H. D.'s verse has the balance, the amplitude and the clean outlines of a Greek temple.—Nation
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.