THIS STUDY, composed over a six-year period, owes much to many, not least of all to family and friends, of course, and in particular to my wife and daughter, Joanne and Jessica O'Hara, and to Paul Bové, my comrade in theory. Each has provided great support, intellectual and otherwise, during the process.
I also and especially want to thank Alan Wilde, to whom the book is dedicated. I began a decade ago as his student, soon became his colleague, and will always remain his friend. I could not have done without his generosity of spirit, good sense, penetrating intelligence, and wisdom, all of which one can see at work in his impeccably original and moving explorations of the ironic imagination in modern and postmodern literature. Intellectually and professionally, and I aspire to feel, imaginatively as well, he is my progenitor. I hope my dedication of this book to him conveys even a small measure of my filial gratitude for all he has done for me.
"The Temptations of the Scholar: Walter Pater's Imaginary Portraits" and "The Genius of Irony: Nietzsche in Bloom" originally appeared in somewhat different forms in two collections of essays in contemporary critical theory. These are, respectively: De-Structing the Novel, Leonard B. Orr, ed. ( Troy, N.Y.: Whitston, 1982) and The Yale Critics: Deconstruction in America, Jonathan Arac et al., eds. ( Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983). These essays were composed originally in summer 1978 and fall 1980. The Pater essay was made possible in part by the Taylor Summer Fellowship from the English Department of