Ruby Blondell writes about the myths and literature of ancient Greece, often from the perspective of gender studies. Her latest book, Helen of Troy: Beauty, Myth, Devastation, explores the threat of female beauty, a perennial theme notoriously embodied in the myth of Helen and the Trojan War. Greek authors gave surprisingly many twists and turns to Helen's story as they grappled with their ambivalence towards female beauty, which they perceived as both infinitely desirable and a source of terrifying power over men. These themes still resonate today, since our own culture's relationship to female beauty remains fraught with desire and danger.
Ruby's next book will focus on the representation of Helen and her beauty in popular film and television, and what this may say about our own values and attitudes. For a foretaste, see her Huffington Post article on Helen in the upcoming film of the Odyssey set in space (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ruby-blondell-/a-space-odyssey_b_3203953.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false).
Her previous books cover a broad range of topics in Greek literature and myth, especially Plato and Greek tragedy. Her translations of tragedy, including Medea (in Women on the Edge) and Sophocles' Theban Plays (Antigone, Oidipous the King, and Oidipous at Colonus), are designed to be readable for a modern audience and usable as theatrical scripts, while also helping the reader to understand these dramas in their cultural context.
Ruby was born in England, and was entranced by Greek mythology from an early age. That fascination took her to Oxford for a BA in Classics and then to the University of California for a PhD. She is now a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she teaches courses on Greek literature, philosophy, and myth, and its reception in film and television.