My interests center on Greek intellectual history (broadly understood), gender studies, and the reception of myth in contemporary mass culture. My latest book, Helen of Troy in Hollywood (Princeton University Press 2023) focuses on the representation of Helen and her beauty in popular film and television. You can read excerpts from this book at LitHub (https://lithub.com/how-casting-helen-of-troy-becomes-an-exercise-in-fema...) and Lapham's Quarterly (https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/helen-troy-real-not-myth)
You can hear me talking about my work on Helen of Troy in these podcasts:
Let's Talk about Myths, Baby! (https://omny.fm/shows/lets-talk-about-myths-baby/conversations-the-face-...)
Forgotten Hollywood (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/forgotten-hollywood/id1554877313?i...)
My previous monograph, Helen of Troy: Beauty, Myth, Devastation (Oxford University Press 2013), focuses on the threat of female beauty, and Helen as an emblem of constrained female agency, in Greek myth and literature from Homer to Isocrates. Earlier books include The Play of Character in Plato’s Dialogues (Cambridge 2002), which argues for the significance of dramatic form and characterization for understanding Plato, and Helping Friends and Harming Enemies: A Study in Sophocles and Greek Ethics (Cambridge 1989), which approaches tragedy from the perspective of popular ethics.
I have edited two special issues of Helios, entitled Queer Icons from Greece and Rome, and Ancient Mediterranean Women in Modern Mass Media (the latter with Mary-Kay Gamel). I also co-edited (with Kirk Ormand) a collection of essays entitled Ancient Sex: New Essays, in the Ohio University Press series Classical Memories/Modern Identities (2015). My translations of Greek tragedy include Medea (in Women on the Edge: Four Plays by Euripides, Routledge 1999) and Sophocles' Theban Plays (Focus Classical Library 2002). These translations 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.
My interest in drama extends to performance and I have been involved in a number of local theatrical productions, providing ancilliary material, for example, for the Seattle theater On the Boards and for the world-premiere of the flamenco dance piece Antigona. Professionally, I have held various offices in the American Philological Association and have a long-standing involvement with both the Women's Classical Caucus (whose email list I manage) and the Lambda Classical Caucus. I served as the lead organizer for the conference Feminism and Classics VII: Visions, which took place in Seattle in May 2016. Though retired, I remain professionally active.
- Helen of Troy in Hollywood (Princeton University Press)
- Ancient Sex: New Essays, ed. Ruby Blondell and Kirk Ormand. Ohio University Press, 2015.
- Ruby Blondell. Helen of Troy: Beauty, Myth, Devastation. Oxford University Press: 2013.
- Ruby Blondell. "'Bitch that I Am': Self-Blame and Self-Assertion in the Iliad." Transactions of the American Philological Association 140 (2010): 1-32.
- Ruby Blondell. "Refractions of Homer's Helen in Archaic Lyric." American Journal of Philology (2010): 349-91.
- Ruby Blondell. "Third Cheerleader from the Left': From Homer's Helen to Helen of Troy." Classical Receptions Journal (2009).
- Ruby Blondell. Queer Icons from Greece and Rome (edited, with an Introduction). Helios 35.2: 2008.
- Ruby Blondell. "Where is Socrates on the 'Ladder of Love'?" Plato's Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception. Harvard University Press: 2006. 147-78.
- Ruby Blondell. "From Fleece to Fabric: Weaving Culture in Plato's Statesman." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy. 2005. 23-75.
- Ruby Blondell. "How to Kill an Amazon." Helios 32.2. 2005. 73-103.
- Ruby Blondell, Mary-Kay Gamel. Ancient Mediterranean Women in Modern Mass Media (edited, with an Introduction). Helios 32.2: 2005.
- Ruby Blondell. The Play of Character in Plato’s Dialogues. Cambridge University Press: 2002.
- Ruby Blondell. Sophocles: The Theban Plays, Antigone, King Oidipous, Oidipous at Colonus; Updated Translations with Introductory Essay and Notes. Focus Classical Library: 2002.
- Ruby Blondell, Bella Zweig, Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz, Mary-Kay Gamel. Women on the Edge: Four Plays by Euripides. Routledge: 1999.
Research Advised: Graduate Dissertations
- Charles Carver. Ἕρκος Ἀθηναίων: The Ajax Myth, the Trojan War, and the Construction of Civic Ideology in Fifth-Century Athens. Diss., 2018.
- Allison Das. When (S)he Spoke: A study of the feminized voice in the Aeschines-Demosthenes orations. Diss..
- Naomi Campa-Thompson. I Do What I Want: Freedom and Power in Classical Athens. Diss. 2014.
- Melissa Funke. Euripides and Gender: The Difference the Fragments Make. Diss., 2013.
- Sonia Isaacs. Homeward Bound: Gendered Spatial Arrangements in Ancient Greek Houses. Diss., 2010.
- Lindsay Morse. The Dream of a Shadow: Death and Heroism in the Poetry of Homer and Pindar. Diss., 2010.
- Hans-Peder Hanson. Sophistic Epistemology. Diss., 2010.
- Mark Nugent. Art, Text, and the Politics of Identity in the High Roman Empire. Diss., 2010.
- Alex Dressler. Matter, Language and Attachment in Seneca's Moral Epistles. Diss., 2009.
- Yurie Hong. The Pregnant Muse: Greek Conceptions of Birth and the Discourse of Literary Production. Diss., 2007.
- Christina Vester. The Figure of the Mother in Greek Drama. Diss., 2004.
- Bradley Levett. Gorgias the Sophist. Diss., 2002.
- Killer Queen: Clytemnestra as Goddess, Heroine, and Monster in Greek Literature”
Research Advised: Undergraduate Senior Essays
- “Psyche and Cupid” Film Features Cast and Crew from UW Classics - August 12, 2022
- UW grad student and faculty member win LCC and WCC prizes! - January 8, 2019
- Feminism and Classics VII: Visions - May 27, 2016
- UW hosts seventh international conference on Feminism and Classics May 19-22 - May 15, 2016
- Ruby Blondell Launches 1000 Ships at Oberlin - November 20, 2015
- Professor Ruby Blondell to deliver lecture on Helen in the Performing Arts Lecture Series in October - September 10, 2014
- Professor Blondell's Helen of Troy reviewed in the New Republic - April 29, 2014
- Professor Ruby Blondell to present at GeekGirlCon 2013 - October 10, 2013
- Professor Ruby Blondell to give a talk at the Getty Villa - August 27, 2012
- Feminism and Classics VI - June 1, 2012
- From Classics to Wonder Women! A former student recounts the inspiration provided by two faculty members - May 31, 2012
- UW Department of Classics attracts attention in unexpected circles - May 8, 2012
- Professor Ruby Blondell profiled in A&S Perspectives - April 9, 2012
- Greek myth in a Global Context - February 10, 2024 - 9:00am
- Book Release Party for Ruby Blondell's Helen of Troy in Hollywood - October 6, 2023 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
- Undergraduate Theater Society Presents Medea - February 23, 2017 to March 5, 2017
- Visions: Feminism and Classics VII - May 19, 2016 to May 22, 2016
- "Advertised for 2700 Years and Now You Get Her!" - Helen of Troy on the Silver Screen - October 21, 2014 - 7:30pm