Ancient History: A Paraphase is Joseph McElroy's third novel, published in 1971. It presents itself as a hastily written essay/memoir/confession. The character Dom is sometimes described as a fictionalized Norman Mailer.The title "Ancient History" refers to classical Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and Persian history, which Cy, the narrator, is something of an amateur expert in. It was the name for the course Cy took at Poly Prep. But it also the narrator's frequent dismissive phrase regarding his own obsessive retelling of trivial details from his own personal past.
The word "paraphase", used in the subtitle and a few times in the text, is Cy's neologism, never actually defined.
In March 2014, Dzanc Books published a paperback edition, with an introduction by Jonathan Lethem.
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original title: Ancient History
date of publication: 1971
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