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The Private Life of Helen of Troy

3.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  55 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
John Erskine (10/5/1879–6/2/1951) was an educator & author, born in New York City & raised in Weehawken, NJ. He graduated from Columbia University (A.M., '01; Ph.D., '03). He was employed at Columbia & Amherst. He instituted Columbia College's General Honors Course, a 2-year undergraduate seminar that would later help inspire "Masterworks of Western Literature, ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published 1925 by The Bobbs-Merrill Company (Indianapolis)
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Tad Richards
Dec 17, 2009 Tad Richards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moving from my parents' library to my grandparents' -- this one has my grandmother's name, Charis Fairbanks, 1926, on the flyleaf. John Erskine was a noted scholar - he created the Great Books program at Columbia University -- and a popular novelist in his day, pretty much forgotten today -- I'd say undeservedly. The Private Life of Helen of Troy is a wonderfully readable novel of ideas. Erskine is erudite but his style is not at all donnish. It's talky -- actually, it's all talk -- but the talk ...more
Ciara Darren
Another new author for me this week. This satirical tale is told nearly entirely in dialog, as if one is reading a play. Helen of Troy is anything but broken or repentant when she returns to Sparta and the ideas espoused by her and many of those around her have little to nothing to do with what would have been popular in Sparta for the time period. However, the ideas appear to bear rather pointed remarks aimed at life at the time the author wrote the book, and even into the twenty-first century, ...more
Scott Williams
The odd thing about this book is that it is practically wall to wall dialogue. There is barely any descriptive prose. I don't think I've ever read anything quite like it. After a time, the constant dialogue exhausted me. It was full of wit and the characters were enjoyable but I have to admit losing some interest after about the first half.
L. (I need one of these, do they come in threes? cuz I need to squeeze them)
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

There, you've read it.
Walter
Considering that "The Private Life of Helen of Troy" was written by John Erskine, one of the pioneers of the Great Books movement in the 1930s, I really thought that I would enjoy this novel more. I must say that it is a disappointment.

The novel is set in Sparta after Helen of Troy returns to the city with her husband Menelaus after literally causing the Trojan War. As Helen was for all intents and purposes a war trophy at this point, one would think that the rest of her life would have been spe
...more
Erik Graff
May 27, 2014 Erik Graff rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Erskine fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
I found this cloth edition at a little bookstore in Three Oaks, Michigan the summer Martin, my younger brother and I were living in a little old cottage beside Lake Michigan--a summer when Martin and I, having no tv, tape-player or phonograph, did a whole lot of reading. The bookstore, no longer there, was located in what had been the town's railroad station back in the days when trains still carried people from town to town. The book was attractive not because of it author, I'd never heard of h ...more
Joni
Feb 11, 2016 Joni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I definitely found many philosophical similarities with my current thought processes and loved the battle of the sexes vibe. No one who saw me with this book had ever heard of it, and I fear they took no interest due to it's age, but that would be a mistake. This tale is timeless.
Jocelyn
Mar 10, 2009 Jocelyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Ridiculous dialogue. Reads more like a play than a novel, a very boring one with absolutely no stage action.
Anne
Jan 11, 2011 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One can't beat the dialogue and connections between men and women in this rendition.
Nina
Oct 13, 2015 Nina rated it did not like it
soap opera
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143645
John Erskine (October 5, 1879 – June 2, 1951) was an American educator and author, pianist and composer. He was first an English professor at Amherst College from 1903 to 1909, followed by Columbia University from 1909 and 1937, during his tenure he formulated the General Honors Course, which later founded the influential Great Books movement. He published over 100 books, novel, criticism, essays ...more
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