During the years I have been writing this book, I have benefitted in many ways from the generosity of friends, colleagues, and students at Connecticut College and in the summer school at Tufts. For particularly valued help at different stages, I would like to thank Rick Bogel, John Fyler, Julia Genster, Vanessa Gezari, and Christopher Ricks. I am grateful to Connecticut College for a capstone grant that enabled me to reduce the amount of my teaching in one semester, and to the Society for the Study of Narrative Literature, which provided opportunities for delivering portions of this book at two conferences. I am also grateful to the staff of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, particularly Ms. Kathryn White, for hospitality and kind assistance in answering questions. Like all students of the Brontës, I have profited from the superbly edited Clarendon editions of the Brontës' novels. Quotations from Charlotte Brontë's novels are given parenthetically in my text and refer to book, chapter, and page numbers in the following Clarendon editions: The Professor, edited by Margaret Smith and Herbert Rosengarten ( 1987); Jane Eyre, edited by Jane Jack and Margaret Smith ( 1969); Shirley, edited by Herbert Rosengarten and Margaret Smith ( 1979); and Villette, edited by Herbert Rosengarten and Margaret Smith ( 1984).