Off the Shelf: Jenny Strauss Clay

March 31, 2011 — Jenny Strauss Clay, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Classics, "Homer's Trojan Theater: Space, Vision and Memory in the 'Iliad.'" Cambridge University Press.

In "Homer's Trojan Theater," Clay, a classics professor in the College of Arts & Sciences, analyzes and shows the visual plan of the positions of the actors in Homer's "Iliad," and explores the setting – the locations of the Greek war camp, Troy and the geographical features of the Trojan Plain. Translating the poem's verbal account into a visual medium demonstrates not only the coherence of its plan, but also reveals the role of spatial design in plotting its narrative. The often-neglected "Battle Books" of the "Iliad" here emerge as a coherently visualized narrative sequence rather than as a random series of combats.

Clay also has a website, "Homer's Trojan Theater" (hosted by U.Va.'s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities) in which she provides a visual interface that maps the action described in the "Iliad" on a schematic map showing Troy, the Trojan Plain, the Greek camp and the surrounding landscape. A timeline follows the narrator's line-by-line descriptions with icons representing major characters as they move and interact. The project features abstract maps of the battlefield that show the action shifting line-by-line in Greek and English versions of the texts.

— By Anne Bromley

Media Contact

Anne E. Bromley

University News Associate Office of University Communications