A book that has taken this long to write has run up exorbitant debts in its author's name. First and foremost, I owe my mother, Joan; my brothers, Dennis, Bill, and Tom; my sisters, Susan and Judy; and the bright lights of the next generation – Lauren, Brendan, Conor, Mara, Liam, and Brigit – for putting up with it, and with me. Always and everywhere, Regenia Gagnier and Rob Polhemus remain what I hope to become; much love and thanks to both for their extravagant kindness and unstinting support. Shay Brawn, Alex Chasin, Ira Livingston, and Kelly Mays are still among the best friends I've ever made, and I feel beyond fortunate to have all of them in my life, more than ten years on. And there will be no end to owing Brad King, Maggy Lindgren, Lucy Jackson Norvell, Nedra Reynolds, Kate Rousmaniere, and Ann Wierwille for their care, friendship, and encouragement.
I need to repay with interest those colleagues in English at Miami University who have contributed to the process and the product in either highly concrete or virtually intangible ways, often in both: Steven Bauer, Kim Dillon, Eric Goodman, Susan Jarratt, Katie Johnson, Frank Jordan, Laura Mandell, Kate McCullough, Lori Merish, Kerry Powell, and Vicki Smith, with special thanks to Tim Melley for providing a timely reading and to Barry Chabot for giving us all a local habitation. I'm obliged as well to the innumerable graduate and undergraduate students I've known and admired in the past ten years, who have given me way more than they realize, and to all manner of other folks with whom I've talked and to whom I've listened, especially Deborah Morse and Anca Vlasopolos, along with many other members of the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies Association. Two other colleagues have also enriched my work in particularly important ways, which they would fully recognize only in reading the pages of this book: my deepest gratitude for their intellectual companionship to Fran Dolan and to Susan Morgan.