O hell of ships and cities,
     Hell of men like me,
Fatal second Helen,
     Why must I follow thee?

Hello, and welcome to the Fatal Second Helen Project!

This project was named after the poem ‘I Saw a Man This Morning’ by Patrick Shaw Stewart, quoted above. In the poem, Shaw Stewart connects his own experience of war in 1915 with that of Achilles and those who fought at Troy. So what does it mean? Well, this is a good question, and is at the very heart of my PhD research in Classics and War literature. It is also, essentially, at the heart of this project. The Fatal Second Helen project seeks to explore our relationship with history, how we use literature to explore and mediate our own experiences, and how we can use literature to help us better understand the world around us.

The Fatal Second Helen Project in addition to this blog, also has different outlets in social media, and workshops with schools and different groups throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians, looking at literature, trauma, and different aspects of representation. This Project has three aims;

  •  Exploring how literature can help us mediate and explore trauma and mental health conditions
  •  Widening access to higher education, particularly in classics
  •  Disseminating my PhD research to a wider audience

This blog is designed to combine the three different aspects of the Fatal Second Helen Project, so some of this blog will focus on war literature (my specialty!), some of it will focus on mental health advocacy and how we can use literature to explore emotional intelligence, and some of it will look at different aspects of academia; from finding sources, to going to conferences.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you all!

About Me

I am a PhD candidate in Classics and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. Before coming here in 2017, I studied at the University of St Andrews, achieving MA (hons) English Literature and Classical Studies in 2015 and MLitt in Ancient History 2016. I worked with survivors of Childhood Abuse for a year with a local charity, before moving to Edinburgh to start my PhD.

I come from a military family and have a keen interest in military studies, both modern and ancient. My work focuses on war trauma and I continue to advocate for survivors of abuse and PTSD.