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Author: Eva von Contzen

Abstract

Lists and catalogues play an integral role in collective memory: since antiquity, victims of acts of violence have been remembered on monuments that list their names. Such lists of victims can also be found in the medieval tradition of the Troy story. At the end of several texts about the Trojan war, there is a list of those who were killed on the battlefields. Building on historiographic practices, these lists become an attempt to complete and thereby close the story of the Trojan heroes in the aftermath of the war. At the same time, they open up a space in which the war and its promise of glory are cast in a critical light – what remains of many battles is not the heroes’ fame but futile deaths. The article is rounded off by an analysis of Alice Oswald’s poem Memorial (2011), which uses the name list of the Trojan war victims to reflect on memory and loss in a similar vein.

In: Poetica
In: Poetica