Responses to Oliver Stoneis Alexander: Film, History, and Cultural Studies

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Overview

The charismatic Alexander the Great of Macedon (356–323 B.C.E.) was one of the most successful military commanders in history, conquering Asia Minor, Egypt, Persia, central Asia, and the lands beyond as far as Pakistan and India. Alexander has been, over the course of two millennia since his death at the age of thirty-two, the central figure in histories, legends, songs, novels, biographies, and, most recently, films. In 2004 director Oliver Stone’s epic film Alexander generated a renewed interest in Alexander ...

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Responses to Oliver Stone's Alexander: Film, History, and Cultural Studies

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Overview

The charismatic Alexander the Great of Macedon (356–323 B.C.E.) was one of the most successful military commanders in history, conquering Asia Minor, Egypt, Persia, central Asia, and the lands beyond as far as Pakistan and India. Alexander has been, over the course of two millennia since his death at the age of thirty-two, the central figure in histories, legends, songs, novels, biographies, and, most recently, films. In 2004 director Oliver Stone’s epic film Alexander generated a renewed interest in Alexander the Great and his companions, surroundings, and accomplishments, but the critical response to the film offers a fascinating lesson in the contentious dialogue between historiography and modern entertainment.
    This volume brings together an intriguing mix of leading scholars in Macedonian and Greek history, Persian culture, film studies, classical literature, and archaeology—including some who were advisors for the film—and includes an afterword by Oliver Stone discussing the challenges he faced in putting Alexander’s life on the big screen. The contributors scrutinize Stone’s project from its inception and design to its production and reception, considering such questions as: Can a film about Alexander (and similar figures from history) be both entertaining and historically sound? How do the goals of screenwriters and directors differ from those of historians? How do Alexander’s personal relationships—with his mother Olympias, his wife Roxane, his lover Hephaistion, and others—affect modern perceptions of Alexander? Several of the contributors also explore reasons behind the film’s tepid response at the box office and subsequent controversies. 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299232849
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 1/20/2010
  • Series: Wisconsin Studies in Classics Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,003,029
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Cartledge is the A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek culture in the Faculty of Classics, Cambridge University, and the Hellenic Parliament Global Distinguished Professor at New York University. He is author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of more than twenty books, including Alexander the Great: The Hunt for a New Past. Fiona Rose Greenland earned a doctorate in classical archaeology as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, where she subsequently served as lecturer. She was hired by Oliver Stone in 2003 to provide expertise on Greek art and architecture for Alexander. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in sociology at the University of Michigan.

 

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction Paul Cartledge Fiona Rose Greenland 3

Part 1 Stone's Alexander

Oliver Stone's Alexander and the Cinematic Epic Tradition Joanna Paul 15

The Popular Reception of Alexander Jon Solomon 36

Part 2 Precursors of Alexander

Alexandar on Stage: A Critical Appraisal of Rattigan's Adventure Story Robin Lane Fox 55

The Appearance of History: Robert Rossen's Alexander the Great Kim Shahabudin 92

Part 3 Alexander's Intimates: Sexuality and Gender

Alexander and Ancient Greek Sexuality: Some Theoretical Considerations Marilyn B. Skinner 119

Olympias and Oliver: Sex, Sexual Stereotyping, and Women in Oliver Stone's Alexander Elizabeth D. Carney 135

Fortune Favors the Blond: Colin Farrell in Alexander Monica Silveria Cyrino 168

The Cult of Hephaestion Jeanne Reames 183

Part 4 Alexander's Dream: Macedonians and Foreigners

Oliver Stone, Alexander, and the Unity of Mankind Thomas Harrison 219

"Help me, Aphrodite!" Depicting the Royal Women of Persia in Alexander Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones 243

Part 5 Ways of Viewing Alexander

Viewing the Past: Cinematic Exegesis in the Caverns of Macedon Verity Platt 285

Blockbuster! Museum Responses to Alexander the Great John F. Cherry 305

Afterword Oliver Stone 337

Contributors 353

Index 357

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    Posted April 3, 2013

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