This book began as a dissertation at UC Berkeley under the direction of Catherine Gallagher, where it was also read by Sharon Marcus and Martin Jay. I thank them for their shaping influence and their majestic scholarly examples. Cathy was, and still is, the center of a lively Victorian studies group at Berkeley, creating a wonderful and formative community of young scholars. The Berkeley English department, the Mellon Foundation, and the Mabelle McLeod Lewis Foundation provided financial support that allowed me to devote long research hours to the dissertation.
Colleagues at Penn State helped me to navigate the confusions of junior faculty life, especially the world of academic book publishing. For their kind mentorship and friendship, I thank Robert Caserio, Mark Morrison, Bob Lougy, Nick Joukovsky, Hester Blum, Jonathan Eburne, Lisa Sternlieb, Janet Lyon, and Chris Castiglia. Eric Hayot donated generous time to this project, even helping to design the cover. Penn State supported my research with a semester leave from teaching. I also send cheers to the Penn State Nineteenth-Century Reading Group for a few good years of wine and Victoriana.
I am grateful to Jay Clayton, Carolyn Dever, and Mark Wollaeger at Vanderbilt University for their acute professional advice, and look forward to joining their welcoming community. Talia Schaffer and Peter Logan both provided immeasurable support and warm friendship at a crucial juncture in this book’s history. Jonah Siegel has been both mentor and friend for an amazingly long time. I can’t list here all of the debts I owe him, but only thank him for his ongoing friendship and zest for things both academic and beyond.
Through a series of unexpected twists and turns on the road to publication, this book was reviewed by a number of anonymous readers. I thank them for their close, passionate readings and useful comments. The finishing touches on the book were applied during a fellowship at the Beinecke Rare Books & Manuscripts Library at Yale University. Emily Hines provided invaluable research assistance in checking the book’s numerous sources. At Oxford University Press, I am indebted to Shannon McLachlan and Brendan O’Neill for their amiable facilitation of the publishing process. Vanderbilt University helped to make this book into a beautiful object by supporting costs for image reproduction and book production.