This book was born out of weekly dinner conversations held a few years
ago in Philadelphia. Each Thursday we alternated between two different
seating arrangements at the Brownlees’ table: at 6:00, we participated in
the children’s activities; and at 8:00, we turned conversation into adult con-
cerns. Generation and genealogy were more than fortuitous issues for us in
those days, as Kevin and I, each for different existential reasons, started to
contest biology and retest time. Soon our project turned into a collabora-
tive process. Bringing colleagues on board became an occasion for creating
friendships and renewing cooperation, and we relied on the efficiency of
electronic mail to keep conversations going, no matter the miles. A visit by
Dale Martin in Florence enlarged the original time frame of our inquiry,
and a conference at Duke University on the body brought in Nancy Siraisi’s
voice. We have stories (and memories) for each of our friends in the vol-
ume—their intellectual interests are spread all over these pages just as their
wit has brightened our endeavor.
We are happy to acknowledge the good will of Reynolds Smith of Duke
University Press for his interest in the project and for shepherding it to the
end; the anonymous readers contacted by the press for their generous sug-
gestions, enthusiastic assessments, and a new turn at the title; Giuseppe
Gerbino for his humor and expert skills at indexing; Maura High for her
patience at each shift of our collective syntax; Patricia Mickelberry for her
professional handling of the manuscript; and Sharon Torian for her sunny
Marina Brownlee provided the most cheerful friendship and love. Eliza-
beth Clark was there, as always. To them we—the lucky ones—dedicate
this book.
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