An early version of this book was presented as an Erbschaft Unserer Zeit Lecture at the Einstein Forum, Berlin, in December 1997, where Lorraine Daston’s brilliant response revolutionized my approach to the topic; that lecture, and Daston’s response, were published as Der Mann, der mit seiner eigenen Frau Ehebruch beging; Mit einem Kommentar von Lorraine Daston (Berlin: Suhrkamp, 1999), and I am grateful to Suhrkamp for permission to reproduce parts of that book here in English. Back in Chicago, William Elison inspired me with ideas about Filmistan, Jim Chandler and Tom Gunning aided and abetted me in our shared addiction to B films, and Sarita Warshawsky brought her deep appreciation of Wagner to bear on my chapter about Siegfried. I am grateful to Annie Dillard for encouraging me to retell several stories that I have told in print before, because, she assured me, none of my readers would remember any of my earlier books.
Some parts of the book, in embryo, have been published as “The Man Who Committed Adultery with His Own Wife,” in The Longing For Home, edited by Leroy S. Rouner (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997): 128–137; “When a Kiss Is Still a Kiss: Memories of the Mind and the Body in Ancient India and Hollywood,” the Kenyon Review 19, no. 1 (Winter 1997): 118–133; “The Dreams and Dramas of a Jealous Hindu Queen: Vasavadatta,” in Dream Cultures: Toward a Comparative History of Dreaming, edited by Guy Stroumsa and David Shulman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999): 74–84; “The Mythology of the Face-Lift,” Social Research, “Faces,” 67, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 99–126; “The Man Who Committed Adultery with His Own Wife” (Program notes for the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre production of All’s Well That Ends Well), Playbill, April 2000, 24–26; “The Masques of Gods and Demons,” in Behind the Mask: Dance, Healing and Possession in South Indian Ritual, edited by David Shulman and Deborah Thiagarajan (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2004): 101–125; “Self-Imitation in Literature,” Kenyon Review 26, no. 2 (Spring 2004); and “Pretending to Be Who You Think You Are: Identity and Masks,” Union Seminary Quarterly Review (Spring 2004): 17–31.