I am very grateful to the students I have taught on English courses at the University of Wales, Lampeter, Westminster University, Middlesex University, Hull University and Royal Holloway, University of London, for showing me how to do English. Special thanks to Naomi Harbidge, Caroline Mills and Tim Kay for reading and commenting on drafts of this book.
Thanks to the staff at the British Library (especially in Humanities 2), Senate House library, the Institute of Education library and the Royal Holloway library for being so unfailingly helpful. Thanks also to the following for their support: Phil Agulnik, Janice Allen, John Armstrong, Mary Baker, Pam Bickle, Matthew Broadbent, Susan Brown, Tommy and Holly Crocker, Sarah Dimmerlow, Cathy Dunkley, Malcolm Geere, Tom Glennon, Nick Hoare, Alex Hollingsworth, Richard Jenkins, Martin McQuillan, Robert Mighall, Lawrence Normand, Sue Pitt, Ben Russell, Gavin Stewart, Richard Tennant, Julian Thomas, Nadia Valman and Tom Webster.
All my colleagues at Royal Holloway, University of London have been very helpful; I profited particularly from conversations about this book with Tim Armstrong, Jerry Brotton, Andrew Gibson, Robert Hampson and Anne Varty. And thanks also to Jean Rayner, Carol Eckersley, Jane Cowell and Daphne Pollen for helping me to open up time in which to write.