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The First Pagan Historian: Inside the Center with Frederic Clark

Inside the Center with Frederic Clark

"The First Pagan Historian: The Fortunes of a Fraud from Antiquity to the Enlightenment"

June 3, 2021
 

Book Talk by Frederic Clark

Assistant Professor of Classics, University of Southern California
 

The annals of literary history are replete with examples of formerly famous books that have fallen into obscurity and neglect. But few have experienced as marked a reversal of fortune, or as ignominious a fall, as Dares the Phrygian’s History of the Destruction of Troy. Classics scholar and 2020-21 Humanities Center fellow Frederic Clark’s The First Pagan Historian (Oxford University Press, 2020) offers the first comprehensive account of Dares’ rise and fall as a reliable and canonical guide to the distant past. Along the way, it reconstructs the central place of forgery and falsification in longstanding debates over the nature of history, fiction, criticism, philology, and myth, from ancient Rome to the Enlightenment.