If any of you regular readers have still any time for the progress of my book on Roman Laughter, let me confess that I am now correcting the final proofs and putting in the cross references.
This is another stage that actually takes longer than you ever imagine. The truth is that there are still some errors. How did three transliterations of Greek first person singular present indicative verbs fail to get a long mark over the "o", as in "gelao" (cant do the longs on the blog I am afraid)? The buck stops here, I have to admit: if there's a mistake, then it's mine! And there are also a very few puzzling omissions (some missing "the"s for example -- could this be a mad computer? that's what I think . . .).
But I am more concerned with odd issues of plagiarism.
Our students tend to be preoccupied with "plagiarism", or with that even more sinister crime of "self-plagiarism". They have a terrible spectre of the crime of copying, even copying from themselves. In truth, there is very little that is willed and wicked. I dont think I have ever come across a piece of work that has chunks lifted from Wiki (though I know those who have). Most "plagiarism" in essays is the result of casual note-taking. Sir Ronald Syme's distinctive prose is copied into the student's notebook, without exact reference, and it then goes into the essay with acknowledgement. It sticks out a mile.. and I have usually found that a marginal comment along the lines of "do you really think Sir Ronald <Roman Revolution, p. 66> is right?" does the trick.
Anyway, when I was doing the copy-editing queries of my laughter book, I just had this sinking feeling that my own summing up of the decline of Bakhtin's "carnival culture" in the late middle ages ("it became light entertainment not liberation") didnt quite feel like me. I searched through my notes, and through google, and everything else, and I couldn't find the source. I did find the words "light", "entertainment" and "liberation" in discussions of Bakhtin, but no more and not my formulation.
Two months later I've looked at the same phrase, and it still doesn't sound exactly like me. I have looked again in my notes, and in Bakhtin and in books about Bahktin; and I still find nothing exactly like that. But I still think I may have got it from somewhere.
So if you coined the phrase that the end of carnival culture signalled "light entertainment not liberation" -- I am sorry, I tried to find the source, and I apologise. If I had been a student, I would probably have been given a red card by now. But, happy to acknowledge if it gets to another edition