100 books like Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema

By Carolina Hein,

Here are 100 books that Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema fans have personally recommended if you like Laura Mulvey, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Myth and Society in Ancient Greece

Sue Blundell Author Of Women in Ancient Greece

From my list on women in classical Greece and how to think about them.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I retired from lecturing in Classical Studies I’ve been writing more pieces on women in the ancient world, and also some plays. One of them, 189 Pieces, is about the Portland Vase, a beautiful example of Roman glass whose label in the British Museum tells us that it was owned by the Duke of Portland. This is true—he’d inherited it—but it was bought at great expense by his grandmother, the wonderful Duchess of Portland. Giving women their place in history has been my aim in much of my work. Nowadays I’m obsessed with female footwear, and Cinderella, Goody Two-Shoes, and Carrie Bradshaw take up a lot of my time. 

Sue's book list on women in classical Greece and how to think about them

Sue Blundell Why did Sue love this book?

Vernant was an influential scholar when I began writing about women in ancient Greece in the 1990s. His discussions of the social, political and religious institutions of the time, and their relationship with popular mythology, were informed by French structuralist theory.  For me his analysis of the role of marriage in a society devoted to virgin goddesses was particularly stimulating.

By Jean-Pierre Vernant, Janet Lloyd (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Myth and Society in Ancient Greece as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this groundbreaking study, Jean-Pierre Vernant delineates a compelling new vision of ancient Greece. Myth and Society in Ancient Greece takes us far from the calm and familiar images of Polykleitos and the Parthenon to reveal a fundamentally other culture ― one of slavery, of masks and death, of scapegoats, of ritual hunting, and of ecstasies.

Vernant’s provocative discussions of various institutions and practices (including war, marriage, and sacrifice) detail the complex intersection of the religious, social, and political structures of ancient Greece. The book concludes with Vernant’s authoritative genealogy of the study of myth from Antiquity to structuralism and…


Book cover of Greek Tragedy

Sue Blundell Author Of Women in Ancient Greece

From my list on women in classical Greece and how to think about them.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I retired from lecturing in Classical Studies I’ve been writing more pieces on women in the ancient world, and also some plays. One of them, 189 Pieces, is about the Portland Vase, a beautiful example of Roman glass whose label in the British Museum tells us that it was owned by the Duke of Portland. This is true—he’d inherited it—but it was bought at great expense by his grandmother, the wonderful Duchess of Portland. Giving women their place in history has been my aim in much of my work. Nowadays I’m obsessed with female footwear, and Cinderella, Goody Two-Shoes, and Carrie Bradshaw take up a lot of my time. 

Sue's book list on women in classical Greece and how to think about them

Sue Blundell Why did Sue love this book?

Thrilling portraits of violent women in Greek tragedy—for example, Clytemnestra, Electra, and Medeaseem like an anomaly in a society that expected women to get married, bear children, be quiet, and stay at home. In this accessible introduction to the subject Rabinowitz examines tragedy in its original theatrical and social contexts. Her analyses of selected plays are grounded in psychoanalytic and feminist theory, and include vivid accounts of some modern performances. Whatever is happening in the world, there is always a Greek tragedy that speaks to it. 

By Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Greek Tragedy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Greek Tragedy sets ancient tragedy into its original theatrical, political and ritual context and applies modern critical approaches to understanding why tragedy continues to interest modern audiences. * An engaging introduction to Greek tragedy, its history, and its reception in the contemporary world with suggested readings for further study * Examines tragedy's relationship to democracy, religion, and myth * Explores contemporary approaches to scholarship, including structuralist, psychoanalytic, and feminist theory * Provides a thorough examination of contemporary performance practices * Includes detailed readings of selected plays


Book cover of Consuming Fashion: Adorning the Transnational Body

Sue Blundell Author Of Women in Ancient Greece

From my list on women in classical Greece and how to think about them.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I retired from lecturing in Classical Studies I’ve been writing more pieces on women in the ancient world, and also some plays. One of them, 189 Pieces, is about the Portland Vase, a beautiful example of Roman glass whose label in the British Museum tells us that it was owned by the Duke of Portland. This is true—he’d inherited it—but it was bought at great expense by his grandmother, the wonderful Duchess of Portland. Giving women their place in history has been my aim in much of my work. Nowadays I’m obsessed with female footwear, and Cinderella, Goody Two-Shoes, and Carrie Bradshaw take up a lot of my time. 

Sue's book list on women in classical Greece and how to think about them

Sue Blundell Why did Sue love this book?

"The statements we make just by getting dressed in the morning." This book about fashion and dress codes, and how they interconnect with gender, sexuality, and class, is lively and thought-provoking. My own study of the women who appear in Greek vase paintings led me to look more closely at women’s relationship with their clothing. In particular their handling of shoes became a source of fascination, and in my current research I’m focussing on narratives around female footwear. In the book, Brydon’s chapter "Sensible Shoes" has been an inspiration. Stilettos, for example, are seen as being entirely ambiguous in their significance, items which can both empower and disable the wearer. Like the knife they are named after, they are double-edged. 

By Anne Brydon (editor), Sandra Niessen (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Consuming Fashion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Clothing the body is one of the most complicated acts of daily existence. When a nun ponders red shoes, an architect knots his bowtie, a lesbian laces her Doc Marten's, or a nude model disrobes, each is engaging in a process of identity-making that is both intensely personal and deeply social. In an increasingly material world, negotiating dress codes is a nuanced art, informed by shifting patterns of power and authority, play and performance, as well as gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity and race. Drawing on ethnographic knowledge to connect theory and practice, authors reveal links between material culture, social and…


Book cover of Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek Myths

Sue Blundell Author Of Women in Ancient Greece

From my list on women in classical Greece and how to think about them.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I retired from lecturing in Classical Studies I’ve been writing more pieces on women in the ancient world, and also some plays. One of them, 189 Pieces, is about the Portland Vase, a beautiful example of Roman glass whose label in the British Museum tells us that it was owned by the Duke of Portland. This is true—he’d inherited it—but it was bought at great expense by his grandmother, the wonderful Duchess of Portland. Giving women their place in history has been my aim in much of my work. Nowadays I’m obsessed with female footwear, and Cinderella, Goody Two-Shoes, and Carrie Bradshaw take up a lot of my time. 

Sue's book list on women in classical Greece and how to think about them

Sue Blundell Why did Sue love this book?

In this witty and intelligent book, broadcaster and novelist Natalie Haynes applies a woman’s mind to stories that in the past have been told to us mostly by men. She presents us with ten female characters who not only feature in ancient myths, but also have starring roles in later paintings, plays, novels, films, operas, and musicals. They include Pandora, Helen, Medusa, Eurydice, and Penelope: whether traditionally seen as victims or villains, all these women are explored in their ‘difficult, messy, murderous’ complexity. 

By Natalie Haynes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Pandora's Jar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Funny, sharp explications of what these sometimes not-very-nice women were up to!' - Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale

The Greek myths are among the world's most important cultural building blocks and they have been retold many times, but rarely do they focus on the remarkable women at the heart of these ancient stories.

Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, from the Trojan War to Jason and the Argonauts. And still, today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories…


Book cover of The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece

Tony Perrottet Author Of The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games

From my list on on the classical world to accompany the Olympics.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a historian, journalist, and travel writer, Tony Perrottet has made a career out of bringing the past to vivid life. Born in Australia, he started writing as a foreign correspondent in South America, where he covered guerrilla wars in Peru, drug running in Colombia, and military rebellions in Argentina. He continues to commute to Athens, Iceland, Tierra del Fuego, and Havana, while contributing to the Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, amongst others. He has written six books on subjects ranging from classical tourism to the Pope's "pornographic bathroom" in the Vatican, and most recently, ¡Cuba Libre!, an anecdotal account of the Cuban Revolution. His travel stories have been selected seven times for the Best American Travel Writing series, and he is a regular guest on the History Channel, where he has spoken about everything from the Crusades to the birth of disco.

Tony's book list on on the classical world to accompany the Olympics

Tony Perrottet Why did Tony love this book?

Of the over 1,000 independent city-states that made up the Hellenic world -- and competed in the Olympic Games -- Sparta is today the most notorious and influential (after Athens). This book provides a wonderful insight into its extraordinary culture, where Spartan males were brought up in a strict, even ruthless regime of military training, discipline, and self-sacrifice for the communal good -- but where women were given unexpected freedom and power.

By Paul Cartledge,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Spartans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Spartan legend has inspired and captivated subsequent generations with evidence of its legacy found in both the Roman and British Empires. The Spartans are our ancestors, every bit as much as the Athenians. But while Athens promoted democracy, individualism, culture and society, their great rivals Sparta embodied militarism, totalitarianism, segregation and brutal repression. As ruthless as they were self-sacrificing, their devastatingly successful war rituals made the Spartans the ultimate fighting force, epitomized by Thermopylae. While slave masters to the Helots for over three centuries, Spartan women, such as Helen of Troy, were free to indulge in education, dance and…


Book cover of Aphrodite's Tortoise: The Veiled Woman of Ancient Greece

David Stuttard Author Of Phoenix: A Father, a Son, and the Rise of Athens

From my list on understanding classical Greece.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since my father introduced me to the Greeks, I’ve been passionate about the ancient world and bringing it alive. I read Classics at university and taught for eleven years, during which time I founded the award-winning theatre company, Actors of Dionysus, dedicated to performing Greek drama in translation. A highlight was staging my adaptation of Trojan Women not just in Ephesus Theatre but besides the walls of Troy. From 2010, I’ve divided my time between writing books and articles on wide-ranging classical subjects, editing Bloomsbury Academic Press’ ‘Looking at…’ series on Greek drama (which include my translations), book-reviewing, lecturing, and directing theatrical performances (most recently with Dame Sian Phillips).

David's book list on understanding classical Greece

David Stuttard Why did David love this book?

Fifth-century BC Athenian society was male-dominated, so most of our evidence comes from – and is about – men. Elegantly written, immaculately researched, and pleasingly illustrated, Aphrodite’s Tortoise goes a long way towards restoring the gender balance, uncovering the complex role that women played in Greek society, whether as wives, priestesses or slaves. At the heart of the book is the use of the veil, which not only protected women from the male gaze as they ventured outside (hence the title) but could convey a variety of visual signals depending on how it was worn. It’s a really stimulating book, the kind that makes you sit up and think about not just the ancient world but our own.

By Lloyd Llewellyn Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aphrodite's Tortoise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Greek women routinely wore the veil. That is the unexpected finding of this major study. The Greeks, rightly credited with the invention of civic openness, are revealed as also part of a more eastern tradition of seclusion. From the iconography as well as the literature of Greece, Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones shows that fully veiling of face and head was commonplace. He analyses the elaborate Greek vocabulary for veiling, and explores what the veil was meant to achieve. He also uses Greek and more recent - mainly Islamic - evidence to show how women could exploit and subvert the veil to achieve…


Book cover of Interstate Relations in Classical Greece: Morality and Power

Robin Waterfield Author Of Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens: A History of Ancient Greece

From my list on ancient Greek history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a British scholar – a former university lecturer, many moons ago – now living in rural southern Greece. In fact, I have Greek as well as UK citizenship, which really pleases me because I’ve loved Greece and things Greek since boyhood. I started to learn ancient Greek at the age of ten! I’ve written over fifty books, mostly on ancient Greek history and philosophy, including many volumes of translations from ancient Greek. But I’ve also written children’s fiction in the form of gamebooks, a biography, a book on hypnosis, a retelling of the Greek myths (with my wife Kathryn) ... I’ll stop there!

Robin's book list on ancient Greek history

Robin Waterfield Why did Robin love this book?

Anyone with any degree of acquaintance with ancient history knows that the Greeks were often at war with one another. This book explores the rules that governed their interactions. Was there any kind of international law? If so, was any of it actually written down, or did it exist at the level of “unwritten law” – a live issue even today? How was it enforced, and by whom? There was no United Nations in those days. Did it succeed in reducing belligerence among the Greeks? Or was the only principle that might is right, so that stronger cities had the right to subdue their weaker neighbours? These are all critically important questions for understanding the Greeks and the course of their history. Overall, the book argues that the Greeks were more moral and restrained in their dealings with one another than one might have guessed.

By Polly Low,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Interstate Relations in Classical Greece as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this book Dr Low explores the assumptions and principles which determined the conduct and representation of interstate politics in Greece during the fifth and fourth centuries BC. She employs a wide range of ancient evidence, both epigraphic and literary, as well as some contemporary theoretical approaches from the field of International Relations. Taking a thematic rather than a chronological approach, she addresses topics such as the nature of interstate society in the Greek world; the sources, scope and enforcement of 'international law'; the nature of interstate ethics and morality; interventionism and imperialism; and the question of change and stability.…


Book cover of Art and Experience in Classical Greece

Emily Katz Anhalt Author Of Embattled: How Ancient Greek Myths Empower Us to Resist Tyranny

From my list on why Ancient Greece and Rome matter today.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first visited ancient Greece as an undergraduate. Homer and Plato seemed to speak directly to me, addressing my deepest questions. How do you live a good life? What should you admire? What should you avoid? Frustrated by English translations (each offers a different interpretation), I learned to read ancient Greek and then Latin. In college and then graduate school, I came to know Homer, Plato, Aeschylus, Cicero, Ovid, and many others in their own words. The ancient Greeks and Romans faced the same existential struggles and anxieties as we do. By precept, example, and counter-example, they remind me of humanity’s best tools: discernment, deliberation, empathy, generosity.

Emily's book list on why Ancient Greece and Rome matter today

Emily Katz Anhalt Why did Emily love this book?

Jerry Pollitt was another professor and inspiring mentor to me in graduate school.

In graceful, accessible prose, Pollitt traces the development of Classical Greek art (c. 480-322 BCE) as it intersects with Greek history, philosophy, and literature. Identifying potent interactions between art, culture, and political thought, this book offers a useful paradigm for understanding how these reciprocal influences shape our attitudes and aspirations still.

The book includes beautiful illustrations.

By Jerome Jordan Pollitt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Art and Experience in Classical Greece as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An account of the development of Greek art in the Classical period (about 480-320 BC) which places particular emphasis on the meaning and content of Greek sculpture, architecture and painting. Professor Pollitt reminds us that the visual arts in Greece, as elsewhere, were primarily vehicles of expression. He does not ignore formal development but always relates this to social and cultural history, which it reflected and from which it grew. While his subject is art, he refers frequently to the literature and philosophy of the period which were shaped by the same influences.


Book cover of Greek Warfare: Myth and Realities

Sonya Nevin Author Of The Idea of Marathon: Battle and Culture

From my list on attacking ancient Greek warfare.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved military history. Over time, the ancient Greeks won out. They have the coolest equipment! The more you find out about their culture, the more interesting they are. I studied Classics and English Lit. as an undergrad and went to Athens for my Master's. My PhD research was on ancient Greek warfare and historiography–how the Greeks wrote history. That became part of my first book, Military Leaders and Sacred Space in Classical Greek Warfare. I’ve taught in several universities, including courses on warfare, mythology, art, and historiography. I run the Panoply Vase Animation Project, which makes educational animations from ancient antiquities. I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Warsaw.

Sonya's book list on attacking ancient Greek warfare

Sonya Nevin Why did Sonya love this book?

I love how thorough this book is–it is full of fantastic examples covering all sorts of aspects of ancient Greek warfare. What causes ancient Greek wars? Who fights? How do they prepare? What happens? There are so many interesting questions.

This book, by one of the world’s leading experts, offers many thoughtful answers drawn from ancient literature, archaeology, and iconography–pottery, stone carvings, statues, and statuettes. I come back to this readable, informative book again and again.

By Hans van Wees,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Greek Warfare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the soldier's-eye view of combat to the broad social and economic structures which shaped campaigns and wars, ancient Greek warfare in all its aspects has been studied more intensively in the last few decades than ever before. This book ranges from the concrete details of conducting raids, battles and sieges to more theoretical questions about the causes, costs, and consequences of warfare in archaic and classical Greece. It argues that the Greek sources present a highly selective and idealised picture, too easily accepted by most modern scholars, and that a more critical study of the evidence leads to radically…


Book cover of Visual and Other Pleasures

Hanna Flint Author Of Strong Female Character

From my list on championing women in cinema.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a London-based critic, author, and host whose love affair with film began after seeing The Lion King in the cinema as a kid. I trained as a journalist because I wanted to talk about the world. Since then I’ve been covering film and culture for the likes of Empire Magazine, Time Out, and IGN. I co-host MTV Movies and the weekly film reviews podcast Fade to Black; co-founder of The First Film Club event series and podcast, and am a member of London's Critics' Circle. I'm a voice for gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in the entertainment industry and an advocate for MENA representation as a writer of Tunisian heritage.

Hanna's book list on championing women in cinema

Hanna Flint Why did Hanna love this book?

One of the most influential thinkers and writers on feminist film theory, Mulvey’s groundbreaking essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” is one of many that tackle the representation of women in art and culture and how these mediums might impede or aid the women’s movement.

Mulvey was a great resource for my own book in analysing the overt sexualisation of female characters on screen to cater to the so-called Male Gaze and misogynistic pleasures.

By L. Mulvey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Visual and Other Pleasures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new edition of Laura Mulvey's groundbreaking collection of essays, originally published in 1989. In an extensive introduction to this second edition, Mulvey looks back at the historical and personal contexts for her famous article Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema , and reassesses her theories in the light of new technologies.


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