I wrote this book in Paris, Boston, and Berkeley, between the autumn of 1996
and the winter of 1999. It wouldn’t exist were it not for the help, the advice,
the comments, and the suggestions of a large number of people. I dare not
give the list here, however great my debt to these people. No matter how
long a list I made, it would, I fear, be incomplete. I would surely forget
someone who, sometimes with just a word or a suggestion of something to
read, helped direct my thinking and my work on these pages.
I hope I may be excused for mentioning only a single name, that of John
Tain, who one day while walking in Boston spoke to me about Walter Pater.