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Helen of Troy: From Homer to Hollywood [Paperback]

Laurie Maguire

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Book Description

9 April 2009
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

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Review

"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)

From the Back Cover

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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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars She is the literary equivalent of the Mona Lisa's smile: absence is her essence 22 Mar 2010
By ROROTOKO - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Helen of Troy" is on the ROROTOKO list of cutting-edge intellectual nonfiction. Professor Maguire's book interview ran here as the cover feature on March 17, 2010.
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful, informative, wide-ranging, original book 20 May 2009
By Britomartis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This learned book is beautifully written and a real pleasure to read, and as the Horatian dictum specifies, it instructs and delights in equal measure. From Homer to Hollywood is a vast span, but this book gracefully treats the range, and what's more, has something to enlighten a huge range of readers, from those just getting acquainted with the topics to those already quite expert. This is a generous book, a book that will make you smile, will open your eyes, will stimulate the mind, will sharpen the aesthetic sense. Maguire is a superb writer and thinker whose reliability and deep knowledge never weigh down her sparkling wit and perceptiveness. You won't look at beauty the same way again, nor at the cultures that keep representing beauty in different ways. I highly recommend this fascinating, wonderful book.
--Britomartis
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