Tom O'Carroll's communication and presentation for the new book that he and I are writing about ages of which Romans married
Comments by William A. Percy:
The British journalist Tom O’Carroll is helping me re-write the work that Lelis, Percy and Verstraete authored in The Age of Marriage in Ancient Rome (2003, Mellen Press). The book was too obscure and erudite for most readers, so he and I are composing a work more accessible to the general reader. It contains the major new theory of Beert Verstraete that Roman males of the class that put up epitaphs married on average at 24 and that by 29 their wives had on average produced a live issue so that the widower commemorated her. However, I still believe that fathers always commemorated their sons as long as the father was still alive. But on average, the fathers of husbands died when the husband was 29 and the father was roughly in his late 50s.
Dear Bill & Beert,
Please find two Word files attached. One, titled Edits is a page-by-page description/analysis of AMAR; the other, titled Reviews, is a breakdown of key post-publication comments by reviewers/critics and (in the light of criticism) the authors yourselves.
In order for me to do an effective re-write aimed at a wider readership, it will help enormously if you could each read both documents and give some thought to the points I have raised. Your response could be written, but talking things over by phone (including Skype) could well be good too.
I should point out that the Edits file was written primarily for my benefit, in order to clarify what-comes-where in a searchable form. This has enabled me to consider the structure of the book and whether there needs to be any radical re-structuring. At his stage it seems to me that there does need to be some work of this sort, especially as regards the opening pages, but the basic diachronic approach is fundamental and I see no reason to mess with it. I hope you will read the whole of this Edits file, but of more direct concern to you are the points highlighted in yellow (which will print out as light grey with a black and white printer). These are the issues on which your response is invited. Please note that where the notes are not highlighted it means in some cases that the existing text is more or less OK except for minor stylistic changes. In other cases, though, you will see (if you read the whole document) that I have made suggestions for change: these are things I feel I can just get on with quite happily without troubling you for any comment or additional information. By all means chip in, though, if you see a need to rein me in, or offer something extra.
As for the Reviews file, this too is intended in part as a memo to myself and in part as a vehicle for you to comment on the changes I propose to incorporate into the new edition. It summarises the main points in the book that appear to need revision in the light of scholarly critical attention, including your own. There is very little highlighting in this file. It is not all that long, so I hope you will find time to read the whole thing.
OK, that will do for now, I think. It only remains to await some feedback from you in due course.
Thanks in anticipation.
Below are the edits and reviews that Tom O'Carroll sent along with his communication:
Edits - Age of Marriage in Ancient Rome (as pdf)
Reviews - Age of Marriage in Ancient Rome (as pdf)