This book was begun when I was working at Bishop Grosseteste College, Lincoln, and finished at the National University of Singapore. I am grateful for the help and suggestions of colleagues at both places. Susan Ang and Walter Lim, in particular, gave very detailed suggestions on the whole book, and Arthur Lindley and K. P. Mohanan read and commented on parts of drafts. The comments of the three anonymous readers from Routledge have also been useful. Librarians at NUS Library and at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, were unfailingly helpful to me, and work in Oxford was made possible by the generous hospitality of Christine and Alan Chater. Parts of chapters 3, 4, 6 and 7 appeared in earlier form in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Modern Language Review and Essays in Criticism. I thank Johns Hopkins University Press, University of Illinois Press, the Modern Humanities Research Association and Oxford University Press for permission to reproduce this work. During my two years as Head of Department, I have been very ably supported by Junie Yeo, Angeline Ang and the other non-academic staff. The most general debts are always both the most commonplace and the greatest. My debt to my parents is immense, as is that to my wife, Fiona. It is no empty prefatory formula to say that without her love and support this book would never have been finished. Needless to add, the mistakes in it are all my own.
Singapore, March 2003