Kenneth Dover, a Provocative Scholar of Ancient Greek Literature, Dies at 89

Historians in the News

Kenneth Dover, an eminent scholar of ancient Greek life, language and literature who became known for his willingness to break longstanding taboos in print, from his frank descriptions of sexual behavior (both the Greeks’ and his own) to his baldly stated desire to bring about the death of a vexing Oxford colleague, died on Sunday in Cupar, Scotland. He was 89.

His death was announced by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Mr. Dover retired as the university’s chancellor in 2005.

The author of many books on the Greek classical age, Mr. Dover was known in particular for “Greek Homosexuality” (Duckworth, 1978). It was the first openly published scholarly work to talk about Greek male love in unfettered sexual terms. (A few earlier books on the subject had been privately published and were little known as a result.)

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