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Fantasies of Troy: Classical Tales and the Social Imaginary in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

For medieval and early modern Europeans, contemporary culture was often refracted through the legend of Troy, arguably the most important set of stories outside the Bible for centuries of western European history. These stories were transmitted in dozens of competing versions, and contemporary local events were habitually understood in the context of a pagan legend whose origins were remote and whose mandate was ambiguous. The fifteen essays in this volume offer compelling new treatments of these now-evaporated fantasies of Troy, which were central to the European social imaginary. The essays consider texts and performances of Troy across a wide generic range-from learned court poetry to burlesque, from treatises on linguistic history to public spectacles.

Fantasies of Troy is bound together by curiosity about stories told and retold by medieval and early modern writers. Their stories contributed for centuries to the constitution of the social imaginaries of several countries, each country understanding itself to be destined for greatness without end, each relying on the cultural practices of storytelling to help make it so, and each gradually leaving the Trojan myths behind.

ALAN SHEPARD is Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. Marlowe’s Soldiers: Rhetorics of Masculinity in the Age of the Armada, his study of late sixteenth-century London theatre, the rhetoric of national security, and the narratives of empire, appeared in 2002.

STEPHEN D. POWELL is Associate Professor of English at the University of Guelph. Among his publications are articles about medieval romance and the editing of Chaucer.

Reviews:
Clio, 35.2 (2006), pp. 270-275, 307. Reviewed by John Watkins.
English Studies in Canada, 34.4 (2005), pp. 240-243. Reviewed by Lauren Kiefer.
Renaissance Quarterly, 58.4 (2005), pp. 1386-1387. Reviewed by Jennifer Richards.
The Sixteenth Century Journal, 38.2 (2007), pp. 512-513. Reviewed by Audrey DeLong.
University of Toronto Quarterly, 76.1 (2007), pp. 377-378. Reviewed by Lawrence Manley.

For medieval and early modern Europeans, contemporary culture was often refracted through the legend of Troy, arguably the most important set of stories outside the Bible for centuries of western European history. These stories were transmitted in dozens of competing versions, and contemporary local events were habitually understood in the context of a pagan legend whose origins were remote and whose mandate was ambiguous. The fifteen essays in this volume offer compelling new treatments of these now-evaporated fantasies of Troy, which were central to the European social imaginary. The essays...

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book Details

  • Page Count:

    306 pages

  • Publication Year:

    2004

  • Publisher:

    Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, Victoria University in the University of Toronto
  • Series:

    • Essays and Studies 5

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