The Trojan War

Literature and Legends from the Bronze Age to the Present, 2d ed.

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About the Book

The Trojan War occurred more than 3,000 years ago. Since then, starting with Homer’s epics, people have been writing, painting, sculpting and creating music about this event and its participants. This book starts with an overview of the Bronze Age when the Trojan War occurred, and then follows a selection of the major literature about this war from Homer down through the ages and on to the Internet.

Each retelling of the Troy story is discussed in its historical context and includes a synopsis of the story itself. The ways of telling the story change over time. The main versions considered include Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey; a selection of Classical Greek Dramas (especially Iphigenia at Aulis); Virgil’s Aeneid; Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde; Guido delle Colonne’s History of the Destruction of Troy; Racine’s Iphigenia (at Aulis); Goethe’s Iphigenia in Tauris; Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida; Joyce’s Ulysses; and two feminist Troy novels, Sheri Tepper’s The Gate to Women’s Country and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Firebrand.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Diane P. Thompson is professor emerita at Northern Virginia Community College. She has been a long-time scholar of Troy studies. She lives in Reston, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Diane P. Thompson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7229-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0591-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 4
1. Bronze Age Mycenae, Anatolia and Troy: The Archaeological Evidence 11
2. Oral Poetry and the Troy Cycle 23
3. Homer’s Iliad: The War at Troy 31
4. Homer’s Odyssey: The Long Journey Home 50
5. Aeschylus’ Agamemnon: Dead Heroes and Wild Women—Controlling the Past 72
6. Euripides’ Two Iphigenia Plays: Human Sacrifice and Resolution 81
7. Virgil’s Aeneid: Roman Transformation of Homeric Myth 91
8. Transmission of Troy Stories to the Middle Ages 102
9. Love Redeems Eneas; Love Destroys Achillès: Troy as Romance 111
10. Guido delle Colonna’s Historia Destructionis Troiae: Fate, Fortune, Demons and the Restless Heart 123
11. Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde: The Christian Synthesis 141
12. Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida: Human Beings Alone 150
13. Improving Iphigenia: Racine and Goethe Modernize Evil 161
14. James Joyce’s Ulysses: A Mind Trip 170
15. The Firebrand and The Gate to Women’s Country: Women Revise the Trojan Past 184
16. The Tradition Continues: Troy in the Media and Popular Culture 194
Chapter Notes 213
Works Cited 215
Index 223

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “a thorough treatment…recommended”—Library Journal
  • “this survey is an excellent review of the use of an ancient story throughout literary history. It is very interesting to anyone who appreciates Homer and Virgil and could be useful in literature classes”—Catholic Library World
  • “useful…well written…provides a useful synthesis…extensive and detailed…very enjoyable reading”—Bryn Mawr Classical Review