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Filtering by Tag: The first to die was PROTESILAUS

The first to die was PROTESILAUS

Maria S. Mendes

I like this poem because it is written through Homer, instead of being a translation. Like the rest of Memorial, this is a fragment of the Iliad and of a soldier’s life, prematurely cut short, like the half-built house and the lands which, left behind, are reduced here to a mere sequence of names with long spaces between them. The second part of the title of Alice Oswald’s book promises an excavation and the author does indeed rescue Protesilaus, the first to die in the war, from the Iliad’s interminable flux of action (and from the unpunctuated scriptio continua), digging up someone who has lain in the poem for millennia.

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