OVER THE COURSE of the eight years spent writing this book, I have been affiliated with four different universities in four different parts of the country. Each place carries with it its own happy memories of intellectual and personal debts incurred.
I begin with a word of thanks to my teachers, Fredric Jameson, Thomas J. Ferraro, Richard G. Fox, and especially Janice Radway and Barbara Herrnstein Smith. I am still occasionally struck, and flattered, and grateful, that they trusted me enough to take on a topic like this for a dissertation, as I am for the support and interest they have shown in it since I left Duke. The greatest compliment I could give any teacher applies to them—that their passions, ideas, and examples continue to engage and inspire me.
I was materially supported in the completion of this project by a Career Development Grant from the University of California at Berkeley and by a summer research grant from the University of Florida. Especially important was my year as the William S. Vaughn Visiting Fellow at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University, which allowed me the time, space, and ideal collegial environment for finishingthis book the way I wanted. Mona Frederick, associate director of that center, cannot be thanked enough for her gifts of hospitality, endless logistical help, and her bountiful supply of wit and wisdom. Sherry Willis provided good company and valued secretarial help. I am also indebted to the participants in the Humanities Center seminar “The Question of Culture.” Jay Clayton, Beth Conklin, James Epstein, Yoshikuni Igarashi, Konstantin Kustanovich, Jane Landers, Richard A. Peterson, Karen Shimakawa, and Mark Wollaeger offered stimulating discussions, critical readings of my work, timely professional advice, lots of references and research tips, and good company during my year at Vanderbilt.
There, and elsewhere, numerous colleagues, students, advisors, and friends have left their mark on my thinking, and on this project. These also include Rita Barnard, Mitchell Breitwieser, James Buzard, John Evelev, Vivien Green Fryd, Dorothy Hale, Tace Hedrick, Abdul JanMohamed, Anne Goodwyn Jones, Caren Kaplan, Rebecca Karl, Amitava Kumar, John Leavey, David Leverenz, Molly Mullin, Samuel Otter, Malini Johar Schueller, Susan Schweik, Stephanie Smith, and the participants in my graduate classes, “Theorizing Culture,” at Berkeley, and “Reading the Literary Academy,” at Florida—especially David Zimmerman, who also provided research help. Mei Lin Chang, at Common Knowledge, significantly improved the prose of an earlier version of Chapter 7. My parents, Sally and George Hegeman, provided general counsel, facetious suggestions for book titles, and (wearing their professorial hats)