It was Peter Ohlin who introduced me to non-fiction cinema as both an art form and a vital area of scholarship; for all his guidance, insight, and support my thanks to Peter are long overdue. The chairman of McGill University's Department of English, Gary Wihl, also deserves acknowledgment for his commitment to my development as a scholar and colleague. I am especially grateful to my mentor and friend, Paisley Livingston. I cannot even imagine an intellectual life without this generous tutelary soul, who has for fifteen years shared with me his unique vision of philosophy's relation to humanistic inquiry. In recent years, Mette Hjort has been another special source of inspiration and support. At a turning point, this book and my prospects were much improved because she gave me a little writing table, and a real home, on Holla©ndervej. I am indebted to Thomas E. Wartenberg, whose Thinking Through Cinema series could not be a more appropriately named venue for my study. I would also like to thank the editors at Westview Press, including David Toole, whose intelligent copyediting made this book better. And thanks again toPaisley, for the unintended push to broaden the project's scope by asking me the musical question: "Is that all there is?"
The person who taught me that there is much more, that there is perceptible beauty in the world and irreducible love, and wished so hard for us to share these, died as I was writing this book. I finished the work as best I could -- knowing there would be no evidence of love or beauty in it unless it bore her name. That is why I dedicate What is Non-Fiction Cinema? to Julie Rolston.