Transcript 27 will be a collection edited by Francesca Rayner and Janice Valls-Russell: Engaging with Troy: Early Modern and Contemporary Scenes. This is one of five new titles being announced today in what has become a very dynamic series: the others are here, here, here, and here.
The fall of Troy is eternal. Unless we are archaeologists, we're not really interested in the slow rise of this Turkish city-state, of course: the good bit is the last few years, or even the last few days, and no matter how many golden necklaces are dug up, what really matters is the human drama. The story has been retold by everyone from Virgil to Doctor Who, but Shakespeare is, as always, pre-eminent among the English re-tellers, and echoes of Shakespeare's Troy are also enduring. In Olivia Manning's novel sequence Fortunes of War, for example, the play which the English refugees are staging in Bucharest in 1940 is Troilus and Cressida. Paris falls to the Germans on the opening night: the dragon wing of night o'erspreads the earth.
As Fran and Janice's new book shows, Troy has had many afterlives, translated from culture to culture. We all need a metaphor for downfall, sooner or later.
Engaging with Troy is due out in our Transcript series in 2022.