I began writing this book during the summer of 1987 when I was teaching on exchange at the English Institute of the Free University of Berlin. I was still working on it during the summer of 1991 when I was a visiting professor of Cultural Studies at the English Institute of the University of Munich. Teaching in Germany has played a very important part in the book’s development partly because being there provided me with many more opportunities for sustained writing and research than were available at the time in Britain. The students whom I taught, particularly those in Munich, contributed a great deal to my thinking about Austen.
I am particularly grateful to my old friends Elfi Bettinger and Irmgard Maassen for helping to make an exceptionally wet summer in Berlin such a successful one for me, my wife Anne and our children. I would also like to thank all those in Munich who made us equally welcome during another wet summer. My special thanks are due to Elizabeth Bronfen for her intellectual support and to Werner von Koppenfels who was both a very stimulating and hospitable colleague as well as being my saviour when it came to filling out forms. I gave my colloquium paper on Austen and benefited from responses to it.
I would also like to acknowledge the help that I have received from other English and Cultural Studies teachers, past and present, at East Anglia: David Aers, John Ashworth, Ros Ballaster, Charles Barr, Sarah Beckwith, Robert Clark, Jon Cook, Roger Fowler, Andrew Gasoriek, Andrew Higson, Patricia Hollis, Su Kappeler, Allan Lloyd-Smith, Tim Marshall, Lorna Sage and Peter Womack. My special thanks are due to Janet Todd who generously helped me with advice on a number of topics, particularly letter writing and theatre history. I am also grateful to her as head of department for allowing me to do a substantial amount of teaching on Austen and related areas while I was completing the book. My research students and others at East