I am keenly aware of the special debt I owe to my parents, William Carroll and Olga Ciarlanti, whose hard work and very real sacrifices when I was younger have in the end provided me with the opportunity and freedom to engage in scholarly investigations of the sort presented here. I extend them my thanks. I also want to thank my wife Susan for being my wife, and to thank my son Ian and my daughter Emily, mainly because I love them and know they both will enjoy seeing their names in print.
This book has been published with the help of a grant from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities, using funds provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The inclusion of photographs in this book was made possible by a grant from the Smallman Publications Fund administered by the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Western Ontario. The opportunity to investigate the contemporary blood miracles of Naples, discussed in Appendix C, was made possible largely through two grants. The first of these came with the Research Professorship awarded to me by the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Western Ontario in I987/88; the second was from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada block grant administered by the Faculty of Social Science. I want to express my gratitude for all of this aid.