Funny that I should have spent so much of yesterday writing about All the King's Men, and spent all of today being driven slowly nuts by a facial tic above the left side of my lip. Seriously, it's making me crazy. In the novel, The Great Twitch was Jack Burden's (ultimately failed) metaphor for the senselessness of life, that life is so random that all our behaviors and interactions might as well be random twitches of muscle fiber. I don't think that what I've got constitutes a Great Twitch, but it certainly is a persistent one.
I mentioned below that Prof. Diane Lipsett delivered a wonderful lecture on the conversation currently taking place between New Testament scholars, family historians, social archaeologists and the like. The title of this post is actually the title of en entire semester-long course taught by Prof. Lipsett, so for our, geez, ninety minute session she condensed her focus to Men, Women, and Children in Ancient Rome. With her permission, I am posting my notes from this lecture below, tweaked a little for readability. Prof. Lipsett is interested in studies of gender formation among non-elites as well as elites, those people about whom we know much less because they did not have the resources or clout to commemorate and study themselves, generally speaking. Roman households were much broader than we conceive of in modern terms, with a wide spectrum of people connected by family and employment living under one roof (the terms domus/eikos/ikea capture this idea of an indiscriminate household