As director of the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of
Washington and, before that, as director of the Center for Twentieth Cen-
tury Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, I have had many,
many welcome occasions to introduce visiting speakers. It is a task I love
because it o√ers the opportunity to refer to the important work that schol-
ars are doing and to thank them for it. Thus it seems altogether appropri-
ate to mention here that the mode of debate has never been as tempera-
mentally congenial to me as the mode of acknowledgment itself. To me it
is simply a given that my own work represents a collaboration with other
lives and with many texts (I am first and foremost a reader, after all), and
thus the space granted to me here seems strangely constricted and insu≈-
cient, amenable only to enumeration and the alphabetical making of lists,
whereas I am far more at home in the world of adjectives—almost always
inflected positively, as in brilliant, astute, deft, and generous. Everyone
named below should imagine their name paired with such words. I mean
it. I have many people to thank, including those I have never met whose
work has helped shape my own feeling and thought. In fact I regard the
notes and the bibliography as a continuation of the deeply felt acknowledg-
ments here.
I am altogether privileged to count as friends—and intellectual partners
—Gabriele Schwab and Carolyn Allen. Both of these wonderful women
read the entire manuscript and o√ered invaluable suggestions. I want to
thank Ken Wissoker, the legendary editor at Duke University Press, and
the readers he secured whose fine intelligence, excellent advice, and warm
counsel have served me well. I am indebted to them. Regarding the indi-
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