As much as one tries to debunk the familiar ritual of thanks, it simply cannot be avoided. So one takes refuge in "the briefer the better" approach.As in so many of my endeavors, Walter Jackson Bate has played an important role in the evolution of this book.After finishing a short work on Hazlitt's criticism, I came to him with some terribly vague and amorphous ideas about a book on eighteenth-century critical theory.As usual, he insisted that I write down what I wanted to do, and out of some very rough statements came several instructive sessions and the decision to work on the topic of this book. His enormous knowledge and, most important, his bedrock wisdom about literary study and contemporary scholarship are always models of excellence. James Engell listened to my ideas, criticized them, and helped me to find areas for exploration.My colleagues Paul Doherty, Robert Kern, Robin Lydenberg, John McCarthy, Andrew Von Hendy, and William Youngren were always ready to read, to listen, to offer suggestions.None of the above shall take any blame for weaknesses in my work.
I should like to offer special thanks to my graduate research assistants Melinda Ponder and Susan Skees for flawless work. Barbara Lloyd has been a superior typist not afraid to criticize any and all drafts. Patricia Mahoney has once again been a fine adviser on matters concerning design. Dr. Mary Beatrice Schulte of Fordham University Press, that rare combination of cheerful and rigorous editor and scholar, has been the guiding spirit of this book, and she has my deepest gratitude.
I am greatly indebted to the staffs of the Boston College Library, the Wessel Library of Tufts University, the Widener Library of Harvard University, the Beinecke Library of Yale University, and The Yale Center for British Art for many courtesies while I was working at these institutions.
A Mellon Grant that provided released time for research was invaluable for launching this book, and a Boston College sabbatical leave helped me to complete it. Donald J. White, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; Rev. William Neenan, s.J., Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Professors Joseph Appleyard, s.J., and Dennis Taylor, my Department chairmen during the period I was working on the book, are the kinds of university administrators who translate con