graphic of technology TROY
Troy Stories Today Literary and Popular Culture Bibliography

Ackroyd, Peter. The Fall of Troy. New York: Nan A. Talese (an imprint of Doubleday), 2007. A delightful short novel based on the misadventures of Heinrich Schliemann (called Obermann here), his clever young wife Sophia, and mysteries surrounding both Obermann's past and his experiences and discoveries at Troy. Themes that echo in this witty novel are the German Obermann's total commitment to the 19th century "Aryan" hypothesis for Greek origins and the curious lack of writing found at Troy.]  

Adams, Hebron E. The Burodyssey of H.O.M.E.R. Reston, VA: Foxon Press, 1994. [A delightful spoof of the adventures of Odysseus as reflected in bureaucratic memos. Recommended to anyone who enjoys Homer and has worked for the government.]

Clarke, Lindsay. The War at Troy.  Thomas Dunne Books, Saint Martin's Press, N.Y., 2004. [A modern prose retelling of the events of the Trojan War, this earnest, carefully researched, but rather prosaic novel, narrated by the Ithacan bard Phemius,  begins with Aphrodite and the Golden Apple of Discord and ends with the fall of Troy and the division of the spoils (women) among the victorious Greeks.]

Fischer, Norman. Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer's Odyssey to Navigate Life's Perils and Pitfalls. Free Press, 2008 . [This is a Zen Buddhist's use of the story of the Odyssey as a metaphor for the journey of self-knowledge. It really is interesting, very pleasant and informative, if not exactly classical Homeric scholarship.] Fleishman, Paul. Dateline: Troy. Candlewick Press, 1996. [A retelling of the story of the Trojan War for young people, that juxtaposes modern news clippings about contemporary wars with the events of this ancient war.]

Giradoux, Jean. The Tiger at the Gates (translated from La Guerre De Troie N'Aura Pas Lieu). First American Edition, N.Y. Oxford University Press, 1956. [Although the Greeks and Trojans (reflective of the French and Germans) try to achieve peace, chance or fate intervenes, and the war goes on.]

Hill, Reginald. Arms and the Women. N.Y.: Paperback, Dell-Random House, 1999.[This is a nifty British mystery which is wrapped around a fledgling novel being written by one of the characters. The novel in a mystery is about Odysseus and Aeneas, who meet on their respective wanderings after the fall of Troy. This Odysseus is a close kin to Andy Dalziel, the fat and clever Detective Superintendent (with some nods to Falstaff).]  

Kazantzakis, Nikos. The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel. Translation, Introduction, etc. by Kimon Friar. N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 1958. [Stands alongside Joyce's Ulysses in the renovation of the character of Odysseus.]

Logue, Christopher. All Day Permanent Red: An Account of the First Battle Scenes of Homer's Iliad.  Farrar Straus & Giroux, April 2003. [A rather amazing version of an extremely violent battle scene in the Iliad, done in very modern terms. This is not a translation, but a new vision based on Homer's vision.]

Matturro, Richard. Troy. Walker and Company, New York, 1989. [This novel relates  the siege at Troy, from the events of the Iliad through the fall of Troy. The author has a degree in classics, and he explains all the events in terms of how things were "back then." The gods are gone from Homer's tale, as is the wonder. This version might be interesting to young readers who want to know more about Troy, but are not ready to read the Iliad. Although out of print, there is a Braille edition still available.]

Mee, Charles. History Plays. A Collection of Six Plays, including Orestes and The Trojan Women: a Love Story. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.[Mee writes exciting, contemporary versions of ancient Greek plays. He also has his plays available online at: ]

McCullough, Colleen. The Song of Troy: A Story That Will Outlast History. London: Orion Books, Ltd., 1998. Orion Paperback, 1999. [A heavy attempt to retell the story of Troy as historically "real," rather in the tradition of Dictys and Dares--no gods, no destiny, nobody larger than life. Odysseus and Deiphobos are lovers, as are Achilles and Patroclus; Achilles is a very nice man, Briseis a sweet woman who kills herself in Achilles' tomb, the "quarrel" between Achilles and Agamemnon is a strategy of Odysseus to draw the Trojans out of Troy, etc.] 

Miller, Madeline. The Song of Achilles. Harper-Collins, 2012. [An outstanding retelling of the story of Achilles from his childhood up to his death and burial, narrated by Patroclus. We all know the story, but this version is freshly imagined and psychologically convincing. The author is well-trained in the classics and she stays very close to the classical mythic and Homeric material. Thetis is a rather scary and very convincing Greek goddess, not a friendly water nymph and Patroclus is Achilles' lover.

O'Neill, Eugene. Mourning Becomes Electra. In Three Plays: Desire Under the Elms, Strange Interlude, Mourning Becomes Electra. Vintage Books, 1959. [Mourning Becomes Electra is a trilogy (Homecoming, The Hunted, and The Haunted) reinterpreting the Oresteia of Aeschylus as a tragedy in New England.]

Prescott, Michael. Comes the Dark. New York: Signet, 1999. [A popular retelling of the story of Orestes, son of Clytemnestra, done as a modern murder mystery.]

Sartre, Jean-Paul. The Flies. In No Exit and 3 Other Plays: Dirty Hands, The Flies, The Respectful Prostitute. The Flies translated from the French by Stuart Gilbert. Vintage, 1955. [This play reinterprets the story of Orestes as a modern existential dilemma.]

Shanower, Eric. Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships, Volume 1 (July, 2001). [A well-researched graphics and text series of "comics," retelling the events of the Trojan war in great detail, beginning with the Judgment of Paris.  Volume 1, containing the first 9 issues, was published in July, 2001. See Web Site for Age of Bronze for information about the comics, the book, and how to get them.]  

Simmons, Dan. Ilium. Random House, 2003. [One of the most intriguing and complicated modern retellings of the Troy Story, set on a future Earth and other places. The Greek Gods are mysteriously cruel and powerful creatures that dwell on Mons Olympus on Mars. There are well-intentioned robots who obsess over Shakespeare and Proust, Hockenberry, a resurrected classics professor from the 20th century, and a wealth of other characters.]

-------. Olympos. Harper Collins, 2005. [This is a sequel to Ilium. The Greek Gods get their come-uppance, Hockenberry, the classics professor, messes up the outcome of the Trojan War, Achilles falls in love with the Amazon Penthesilea, one Odysseus (there are two of him) goes off with Circe/Sycorax to explore new worlds and make love in all of them, Prospero (perhaps the incarnation of Shakespeare)  and the well-intentioned robots fix up many messes, and human life gets more or less back on track. Personally, I found this volume more contrived, excessively complicated, and less compelling than Ilium, but I am sure that many readers will enjoy it.]

Stout, Rex. The Great Legend. New York: Carroll and Graf, 1997. Originally published quite a bit earlier in the twentieth century in All-Story magazine (no date). [Idaeus, son of Dares, narrates this hardboiled version of the Fall of Troy.]

Shay, Jonathan, M.D. Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character. [A commentary on the psychology of soldiers in the Iliad that is part of the current issues reading list for the Marine Corps’ Professional Reading Program.]

Tuchman, Barbara W. The March of Folly: from Troy to Vietnam. 1984. Ballentine edition, 1985. [Tuchman's aim is the folly of the Vietnam War, but she develops her argument starting with a generous section on Troy and the incredible folly of the Trojans bringing the Trojan Horse into their city. Perhaps because of her purpose, Tuchman concludes that the Trojans were free to decide to bring the horse in or not, which goes against most versions of the story, but is a nice prelude to her discussion of the history of bad political judgments, culminating in Vietnam.] 

Walcott, Derek. The Odyssey: A Stage Version. New York: Noonday Press, Farrar Straus Giroux, 1993. [This delightful play takes Odysseus, his family and crew to the Caribbean.]

-------. Omeros. New York: Noonday Press, Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1990. [The story of the Odyssey retold as an epic poem set in the Caribbean.]

Waswo, Richard. The Founding Legend of Western Civilization: From Virgil to Vietnam. Wesleyan University Press, 1997. [Virgil's take on the trek from Troy to the founding of Rome is the core legend for Western expansion according to Waswo.]

Last Updated: March, 2012

© Thompson: 9/22/1998