As a consequence of its rather involved history, this book has in the past four years significantly affected my life and that of people around me. Many friends and colleagues have given me invaluable feedback on earlier versions of individual chapters. I would particularly like to thank Dorrit Cohn, Marcel Cornis-Pope, Hilary Dannenberg, Andrew Gibson, Paul Goetsch, Manfred Jahn, Brian McHale, Ansgar Nünning, Brian Richardson and Gudrun Rogge-Wiest, all of whose perceptive remarks and patience with the imperfections of early drafts I greatly appreciated.
This study could not have been completed had I not had the necessary funding as well as dispensation from departmental duties. I would like to thank the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies for making possible my year at the National Humanities Center in 1990-91, where first drafts of Chapters 1 and 5 were produced, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for awarding me a fellowship at the research centre for orality and literacy issues here in Freiburg in 1993-94. Both the National Humanities Center and the Freiburg Sonderforschungsbereich 321 have been wonderful host institutions and have made my sojourns at Chapel Hill and Freiburg pleasant and productive ones. I would particularly like to register my gratitude to the staff of the National Humanities Center and, at the Sonderforschungsbereich, to Wolfgang Raible, whose personal commitment and courtesy have transformed this research institution into something akin to a warm and lively family gathering.
Help with the typing of early versions of the text has come from Karen Carroll and Linda Morgan at the National Humanities Center. I also wish to thank Nóirín Veselaj for extensive typing assistance both during my Humboldt fellowship and at the final redaction of the text. My greatest obligation, however, is to Luise Lohmann, whose expert handling of the manuscript and uncomplaining patience with my numerous extensive revisions were greatly appreciated. For editorial assistance and help with the proofreading and indexing I wish to thank my team at Freiburg, Vera Alexander, Hilary Dannenberg, Stefan Jeanjour, Bettina Krukemeyer, Christopher Mischke and Gudrun Rogge-Wiest.