Helen of TroyFrom Homer to Hollywood
Helen of Troy: From Homer to Hollywood is a comprehensive literary biography of Helen of Troy, which explores the ways in which her story has been told and retold in almost every century from the ancient world to the modern day. Takes readers on an epic voyage into the literary representations of a woman who has wielded a great influence on Western cultural consciousness for more than three millennia Features a wide and diverse variety of literary sources, including epic, drama, novels, poems, film, comedy, and opera, and works by Homer, Euripides, Chaucer, Shakespeare Includes an analysis of a radio play by the prize-winning author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and a Faust play by a contemporary Scottish playwright Explores themes such as narrative difficulties in portraying Helen, how legal history relates to her story, and how writers apportion blame or exculpate her Considers the aesthetic and narrative difficulties that ensue when literature translates myth
List of Illustrations Preface Source Acknowledgments Conventions Introduction: Ab ovo Beginnings Stories and Contexts 1. Narrating Myth Whose Story? Absence Fragments and Narrative Closure The Textual Shudder Myth and Repetition Origins Myth and Meaning Causes (En)Closure 2. Beauty Excess and Deficiency Narrating the Absolute Staging the Absolute Detailing Helen The Beauty Effect Helen’s Breasts Androgyny Helen’s Scar Relativizng the Absolute Helen and Old Age Beauty: Subjectivity and Objectivity Beauty and Nostalgia 3. Abducting Helen Missing Moments Homer, the Iliad Herodotus, the Histories Chaucer and Narrative Gaps Helen and Cressida The Law’s Resolution of Women’s Rights (1632) Statute Change in 1597 The Rape of Lucrece (1594) Helen (of Troy) Rape as Revenge 4. Blame Accounts Casting Blame: Helen, Paris, and the Gods Sidestepping Blame: Sympathy in the Iliad Competing Narratives: the Odyssey "Twisting Eulogy/And Censure Both Together" Voicing Helen: Euripides Helen Among the Sophists Agency (1): Joseph of Exeter Agency (2): Middle English Troy Books George Peele, The Tale of Troy (1589) Deifying Helen: John Ogle, The Lamentation of Troy (1594) Mimetic Desire, the Scapegoat, and Blasphemy Naming and Shaming 5. Helen and the Faust Tradition Form and Appearance in the English Faust Book Helen in the English Faust Book Dr Faustus and Language Dr Faustus and Boundaries Goethe (1749–1832) Goethe and Representation Goethe and the Beauty of Language The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships Jo Clifford (1950– ) Clifford’s Helen and Gender Politics 6. Parodying Helen Comedy The Novel Caribbean Helen: Derek Walcott, Omeros (1990) Notes References Index
"Overall, Maguire's book is a remarkably broad literary study of the complex and recurring figure of Helen of Troy. Her work is both comprehensive and detailed, covering a huge body of material both ancient and modern." (International Journal of the Classical Tradition, 2011) "In conclusion, this an important work, especially praiseworthy for its wide-ranging critical perspectives and admirable depth of information, and above all for its all-round literary explorations. It is also a very enjoyable read." (Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 25 March 2011) "It is an important work in the broad area of Classical Reception and it is aimed at both specialists and the general reader; and it is quite remarkable for the vast variety of information, sources and genres surveyed and for the wealth of secondary literature and critical approaches deployed." (Bmcreview, 7 March 2011) "Maguire's book is an unusually effective study of something often invoked in an airy sort of way but difficult to represent concretely and cogently: literature and related arts as an ongoing and continuously motivated enterprise, sometimes almost collective in its workings across great stretches of time." (Translation & Literature, 2010)"M.'s survey is impressively broad in scope ... .An impressive achievement." (The Classical Journal, February 2010) "Erudite and entertaining ... .We are certainly better equipped to understand the phenomenon of such a mysterious narrative lacuna by the end of Maguire's inspirational book." (The Times Literary Supplement, November 2009) “Combining wit, learning, and insight, Maguire offers delightful reading both for the specialist and for the serious general reader." (Library Journal, May 2009)
Laurie Maguire is Professor of English at Oxford University and has authored or edited six previous books, including Studying Shakespeare and the popular Where There's a Will There's a Way. She has lectured widely at literary festivals in the U.S. and U.K.
Helen of Troy: From Homer to Hollywood is a comprehensive examination of the ways in which Helen's story has been told and re-told from the ancient world to the present day. In this wide-ranging literary biography, Laurie Maguire analyzes ongoing debates about Helen's sexual culpability, as seen through the prism of society's evolving attitudes to issues such as beauty and rape. The aesthetic and narrative difficulties that ensue when literature translates myth are also considered, yet through it all, we see how Helen of Troy's contradictory legacy has transcended the ages and endured in literature. Works by Homer, Euripides, Chaucer, Shakespeare and others are explored, as well as Helen's resurgent popularity in a surprising variety of modern novels, plays, and films. In an engaging and original new work filled with scholarly insights, Helen of Troy: From Homer to Hollywood takes readers on an epic voyage into the literary representations of a woman who has wielded a great influence on Western cultural consciousness for more than three millennia.
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