The work that became this book owes its beginning to four extraordinary teachers: Thomas Vogler, John Jordan, Hilary Schor, and David Lloyd. It was in a series of lectures by John Jordan on Dickens and the social history of the 1840s that these ideas first began to take shape. Tom Vogler, a generous mentor and inspiring example of intellectual life, offered passionate encouragement and consistent insight. Hilary Schor gave nuanced and detailed responses to any number of false starts; the first overall outline of what follows was drawn up by her on a paper napkin. David Lloyd contributed generous advice and support at critical stages during the project. I thank these four for the remarkable insights of their own research, and for their guidance and encouragement.
Many people have read, and reread, significant portions of what follows. Among these are James Clifford, Joseph Childers, Kristin Ross, Richard Te r diman, Christopher Breu, J. Hillis Miller, and Cynthia Marshall; I thank them all for excellent suggestions and criticisms. Kevin Whelan and Stephen Heath, at different stages of the project, steered me toward important texts. Susan Kus and Lynn Zastoupil responded thoughtfully tonewideas ataformative stage in the revision process. Murray Baumgarten, Regenia Gagnier, and Christopher Connery provided important advice and help of various kinds, without which the project could not have developed. Catherine Newman and Michael Millner shared insightful responses to chapter 4 and provided on other occasions many restorative evenings of wine and conversation. Catherine John has been a rare intellectual companion, helping me make sense of my reasons for doing this work. The open-handed encouragement of Tadhg Foley and Luke Gibbons helped to sustain me through many long months of isolated work. The interest which Heather Miller took in this project, and the work she dedicated to it, were also crucial to its completion. Judith Haas gave more than one reading to each section of the book, and her interest and support has made all that follows possible.