Collections of this sort are by definition the result of collaborative effort, but Criticism and the Color Line is exceptional for the kind and degree of participation offered by a vast community of scholars. For their indispensable support, I would like to thank first my students and colleagues at St. John's University in New York and the University of Mannheim in Germany, where the concept behind this book first began to take shape in the form of an extended classroom debate. I am also grateful to the tireless correspondents, too numerous to name, who clarified my understanding of the racial landscape in American literary studies, and thus helped me to articulate the collection's aims. I received especially significant input from David Barrow, John W. Crowley, Alice Deck, Laura A. Doyle, Judith Fetterley, Eric Haralson, Susan Harris, Gordon Hutner, Lee Mitchell, Wilson J. Moses, Michael North, Thomas Peyser, Phillip M. Richards, Gary Scharnhorst, David Lionel Smith, Werner Sollors, and Shira Wolosky, all of whom deserve to be listed as contributors to the volume. It would be redundant to thank the essayists individually for the diligence and generosity with which they performed their separate parts in the joint effort, but I would like to acknowledge in particular the extraordinary contributions made by Robert S. Levine and Shelley Fisher Fishkin. Without their constant assistance during more than two years of planning, composing, and compiling, the collection simply would not have been possible. Lastly, I would like to express my indebtedness to Leslie Mitchner of Rutgers University Press, whose good humor and editorial acumen have made my job a pleasure.