Department Colloquium: Sheila Murnaghan (Penn) "Champion of History, Inveterate Liar: Biographies of Heinrich Schliemann for Young Readers"

Photograph of Heinrich Schliemann
Thursday, November 18, 2021 - 4:45pm to 6:15pm

402 Cohen Hall and also on Zoom, new registration link below for the remainder of the semester, November 11-December 9.

Speaker: Sheila Murnaghan, Alfred Reginald Allen Memorial Professor of Greek and Faculty Director, Post-baccalaureate Program in Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Title: "Champion of History, Inveterate Liar: Biographies of Heinrich Schliemann for Young Readers"

Abstract: This talk will consider the vivid and consequential forms of classical reception that occur in childhood, with a focus on the figure of Heinrich Schliemann.  I will discuss both how Schliemann connected his mission of excavating Troy with his childhood exposure to classical myth, and how Schliemann himself has been portrayed in biographies aimed at child audiences. Schliemann is at once a natural and a challenging subject for such biographies: his rags-to-riches life story includes adventures at sea and in the American West and impressive achievements in both business and archaeology, but he also displayed some morally dubious qualities, including financial underhandedness and a propensity for lying, and his excavation techniques were by today’s standards reckless and destructive.  I will be looking in particular at the ways in which two American authors, one from the mid 20th century and one from the early 21st century, negotiate the competing demands of celebration and truth-telling in presenting Schliemann to young readers.


If you would like to attend this talk over Zoom, registration is required. Please register below for the Zoom link for the November 11-December 9 colloquia. 

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