Helen of Troy: Beauty, Myth, Devastation


Product Details

Publish Date
6.1 X 9.2 X 0.9 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Ruby Blondell is Professor of Classics at the University of Washington.


"the book is a good survey of Helen in Greek literature and a decent introduction to Helen for undergraduate Classics students, but is a bit thin for those seeking more advanced, in-depth analysis." -- Stephanie L. Budin, Collingswood, New Jersey, Journal of the American Oriental Society

"These brief summaries do not begin to do justice to the subtle twists and turns of Blondell's analysis, but I hope that they at least give an idea of the kinds of issues she deals with repeatedly throughout this challenging and rewarding book. While the absence of the Greek texts and the traditional scholarly apparatus is occasionally frustrating, I would not hesitate to recommend this book either to an advanced undergraduate or to a professional scholar. In fact, I have already done so." --Deborah Lyons, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"This excellent volume takes the reader on a tour with Helen of Troy, as she journeys from
the Archetype (Pandora) through her complex identities in the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Oresteia, the lyric poets, Herodotus' Histories, Gorgias' Encomium of Helen, Euripides' Trojan Women and Helen, and finally Isocrates' Encomium of Helen. The book is descriptive in its focus, and shows that Helen, 'who is a concept, not a person' (p. xi), occupied roles that are important both in themselves and also for understanding the works in question. ... [Blondell] has achieved a miracle of lucid, useful and responsible accessibility. This jargon and footnote free volume will benefit scholars and students in classics, the humanities and beyond." --The Classical Review

"Blondell's stimulating and provocative book demonstrates how Helen is 'an ever-refreshing screen for the projection of ideas and ideals about beauty, women, sex and power.' Demonized, idolized, allegorized, or humanized, Helen of Troy remains no woman and every woman." --Bookslut

"A compelling new portrait of the most famous femme fatale in history as she appears in Greek myth and literature." --Publishers Weekly

"Readers need not be scholars of Greek poetry and culture to appreciate this engaging look at an epic tale with modern resonance." --Booklist

"If you have an appreciation for the classics or even just strong feminine roles, you will want to pick this book up. It will easily become a favorite amongst the rest of your library for years to come." --citybookreview.com

"An entertaining and lively narrative...." --Library Journal

"An insightful book, filled with salacious tales of morality that the ancient Greeks did better than anyone since, Blondell's Helen of Troy is a real beauty." --Clifford Cunningham, Sun News Miami

"A marvelously comprehensive look at Helen of Troy and her interpretations--literary, dramatic, and historical--through the ages. Every dimension of the myth of Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world and immortal in memory, is explored and analyzed. It leaves you awed and enlightened." --Margaret George, author of Helen of Troy and The Memoirs of Cleopatra

"Helen's face launched not only a thousand ships but also thousands of texts and artworks: Blondell's lucid, learned, but light-handed study shows why." --Glenn Most, University of Chicago

"A broad, subtle, and beautifully-written study that deserves a large and varied readership. Combining shrewd analysis with lightly-worn expertise, Blondell shows how Greek culture turned again and again to the myth of Helen to confront the disquieting power of female beauty." --Sheila Murnaghan, University of Pennsylvania

"Blondell has written a rich and penetrating study of the Helen myth in the Greek world."
--New Republic

"This book is a fine demonstration of the way in which textual accounts of a Greek
legendary icon can be probed in depth to reveal nuances of cultural history that could
easily be overlooked. While it is no surprise that a study of Helen should uncover ways
in which the masculine agenda of patriarchal Greece was confirmed, Blondell has also
exposed the often self-serving and illogical measures taken by Greek writers to accomplish
this. She does this with a freshness often quickened by humour" --Phoenix