MOST OF ALL, I want to thank Dianne Sadoff, whose loving companionship and intellectual camaraderie made this a very different book—a much better one—than it would have been otherwise.
Other vital help came from a few close friends and colleagues. In addition to her unswerving kindness, Martha Vicinus offered me her clarity of vision at crucial junctures as well as practical help with the introduction. Nancy Armstrong, Kerry Powell, and Jenny Taylor gave me the tough advice and savvy coaching one gets only from those who feel like family.
Patrick Brantlinger, James Buzard, Andrew Miller, and Dianne Sadoff gave me extensive commentary on a draft of the whole manuscript.
For reading sections of the book and offering useful feedback at early stages, thanks to James Eli Adams, Joe Bristow, Ginger Frost, Chris Lane, Adela Pinch, Harriet Ritvo, and Molly Rothenberg.
For tangible support, encouragement, and suggestions, I'm grateful to Regenia Gagnier, Daniel Hack, Christopher Herbert, Jason Jones, Gerhard Joseph, Ivan Kreilkamp, George Levine, Jill Matus, John McGowan, Angelique Richardson, Hilary Schor, Sally Shuttleworth, David Wayne Thomas, and Lynn Voskuil. James Hansell gave me reliable advice on psychoanalytic matters, and Mary Childers helped orient me during a memorable conversation as I was just beginning the project.
I owe an enormous debt to the many audiences who heard preliminary versions of parts of the book. But for offering particularly challenging questions, which stimulated much-needed rethinking, thanks to Amanda Anderson, Carolyn Dever, and Helena Michie. I'm also indebted to a number of graduate classes for working through some of the central issues with me.
The National Humanities Center gave me the fellowship year I needed to bring this project to fruition. During the year I spent at the center, Geoffrey Harpham supported and inspired me in ways he probably doesn't even suspect. Thanks also to the University of Sheffield and the University of Houston for giving me extended opportunities to talk with colleagues about my work. I'm grateful to Bill Wortman of the Miami University Library as well as to librarians and staff at the British Library, the Huntington Library, the New York Public Library, University College (London), the University of Michigan, the University of Sussex, and the Writer's Museum (Edinburgh). Caroline Giordano and Casie Legette provided diligent, resourceful research assistance.