PARADOXICALLY, THE WRITING OF A BOOK IS BOTH A PROJECT ONE pursues alone and a project that involves a community. The first community is comprised of the many works which stimulate one’s curiosity and then one’s research; the next community is comprised of the colleagues, friends, and family who listen to, read, encourage, and finally evaluate one’s work. While the names of novelists, philosophers, and various theorists and critics whose work has informed mine can be found throughout these pages, the book would not be complete without mention of those in the second group. I begin with the members of the Society for the Study of Narrative Literature who have listened to conference papers in which I rehearsed many of the ideas in this book and who have invariably sent me back to work stimulated by their own presentations. I particularly thank Mary Pinkerton whose company at the conferences has been special both personally and professionally, and Jamie Barlowe, whose faithful attendance at the sessions at which I have presented papers has been a true comfort.
I thank Ann Ardis, Katherine Burkman, and Marc Lee Raphael, who have taken time from their own very demanding schedules to read and comment on chapters of the book. Each one offered valuable advice, particularly when I strayed from my topic, and each one helped me to see where the work had its strength. Although the mail service demonstrated its occasional unreliability and did not return to me the first chapter that Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan had read and commented on, I was continually encouraged by the support she offered me in the early stages of my work on narrative issues. James Phelan’s advice on an earlier project that led to this was invaluable. Elizabeth Langland, who read the manuscript twice, suggested revisions from which I learned a great deal and from which the work profited enormously.
Amongst those whose collegiality and generosity have helped me in the last years, I owe appreciation to many philosophers at Oxford University for permitting me to attend their lectures, and particularly to Gabriele Taylor for her interest in my project. For their will