My first debt to be acknowledged is to the critics and writers upon whose work this book is based. I thank especially Marge Piercy, who agreed to talk to me and provide me with unpublished materials, and whose writing inspired my own.
Grateful acknowledgement is made to publishers and individuals for permission to reprint the following: fragments from the poem ‘To Be of Use’ and from the essay ‘A Dark Thread in the Weave’; reprinted by permission of Marge Piercy. Lines from ‘Bridging’ from Circles on the Water by Marge Piercy; copyright © 1982 by Marge Piercy; reprinted by permission of Albert A. Knopf Inc. Lines from ‘Making Peace’ from Denise Levertov, Breathing the Water; copyright © 1987 by Denise Levertov; reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. Portion of ‘Ann Burlak’ by Muriel Rukeyser from A Rukeyser Reader, W.W. Norton, New York, 1994; copyright © William L. Rukeyser; reprinted by permission of William L. Rukeyser. Every effort has been made to contact the copyright holder for permission to reprint extracts from ‘The Blue Meridian’ by Jean Toomer.
Thirdly I want to thank my family, friends, and colleagues who have witnessed the years of mostly solitary work that goes into the writing of an academic book. There were people who gave me books, people who gave me ideas, people whose job it was, people whose job it wasn’t, people who listened, people who forgot, people who read, people who disagreed, people who had to be convinced. Against tradition, there were none who typed the manuscript, cooked the meals or kept the study free of inter-ruption; time and money were, as always, scarce commodities.
I thank the British Association for American Studies for financial support which enabled me to travel to the United States, Sue Dare for giving me ideas as well as books, and my colleagues at the University of Southampton who were generous with their thoughts and their time: in particular Tony Crowley, Eileen Dreyer, Peter Middleton, Jonathan Sawday, Erica Carter and—more particularly still—Ken Hirschkop.
Of the people whose job it was, I am grateful to Gayle Greene, who read the manuscript for Routledge and provided me with invaluable criticism