Monday 13 July 2009

The Roman Mysteries

I had the great privilege of meeting Caroline Lawrence at a conference at Lampeter last week. Embarrassingly, I had offered to present a paper about her work – before I knew she was to be the keynote speaker. We did have a little correspondence beforehand. I was greatly relieved to hear her say in her talk that she was influenced by Nancy Drew. I did compare her work to Nancy Drew’s. Of course, she also mentioned the toilet sponge, as I did, and that statement she put on her blog about the archaeologists being perhaps 90% right.
The main points I made were that:
- her stories show a lot of everyday Roman reality and historical fact
- she makes huge concessions to the 21st Century, making the stories and the setting palatable to the modern reader
- the books are first and foremost books for children and have the characteristics of that beast
- she objectifies modern society by inviting us to compare it with Roman times
- I think we both left the conference quite happy. In her talk, she also spoke about story arcs and gave a fantastic Power Point on the Vogler theory. I must put together a decent Power Point myself.

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