This article offers an interpretation of Wharton's first war story in light of classical reception studies. For many First World War writers, the classics offered a way of articulating experiences of war. To date, scholars have not yet acknowledged Wharton's reworking of Homer's Odyssey, the archetypal story of a soldier returning home. I argue Wharton draws on the Odyssey to reinforce her position as an eyewitness to the war in France. She does so to enhance her authority as a noncombatant capable of producing a credible account of the war zone against the prejudices of gender and combat gnosticism. The first allusion to the Odyssey draws attention to the ability of Demodocus, the blind bard, to tell the story of the Trojan War as if (ironically) he had been an eyewitness. Wharton chooses a narrator who prides himself on dealing with factual knowledge, but even he is unable to say what actually happens at key moments of a journey to the war zone. With so many loose threads, Wharton succeeds in giving us a war story that captures the fog of war and the linguistic crisis, which hampers the articulation of experiences far beyond what an individual has heretofore encountered.

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