Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In The Walls of Windy Troy: A Biography of Heinrich Schliemann, Marjorie Braymer assesses Schliemann’s life. She recounts significant events in his remarkable rise from being a poor grocer’s apprentice in Fürstenberg, Germany, to becoming the wealthy and influential businessperson who rediscovered the Greek Bronze Age. Braymer describes how Schliemann fulfilled his destiny by following Homer. The artistry and force of Homer’s Iliad (ninth century b.c.) convinced him that historical truth lay behind the tale of the Greek heroes who attacked and destroyed the ancient city of Troy, so Schliemann fashioned his life into a quest for the remains of Homer’s Troy.

Braymer’s prose and her use of dialogue bring a sympathetic and human tone to the work, but The Walls of Windy Troy is an adaptation of Schliemann’s own interpretation of his life. In the introduction to his published report on his work at Troy, Ilios: The City and Country of the Trojans (1880), Schliemann explained how Homer and the search for Troy brought meaning and order to his life. He attributed his obsession with Troy to the experiences of his childhood. Braymer therefore begins with the young Heinrich’s fascination with the recitation of a scene from the Iliad. Braymer explains that it was Homer who motivated Schliemann to attempt an escape from the oppression and intellectual stagnation of his...

(The entire section is 505 words.)