The making of this book has spanned almost a decade, and in the course of
it I have incurred many, many debts. Friends and colleagues from a variety
of disciplines have through the years discussed, read, offered detailed criti-
cism, and otherwise been very supportive of this project in numberless ways.
I wish to thank for their unstinting generosity Giuseppe Gerbino, Elizabeth
Clark, Marina Scordilis Brownlee, Kevin Brownlee, Ronald Martinez, Walter
Stephens, Susan Noakes, and Dino Cervigni. I am also indebted for spirited
conversations to Giuseppe Mazzotta, Eduardo Saccone, Elissa Weaver, Mary
Ann Frese Witt, Ronald Witt, Franco Fido, Daniel Javitch, Regina Schwartz,
Tim Carter, Victoria Kirkham, Eric Nicholson, Antonia Arslan, Daria Perocco,
and Robert Bonfil.
This project has been generously supported by a number of grants and
by a sabbatical leave from Duke University. I wish to thank Harvard Univer-
sity for a year fellowship at their Renaissance center, Villa I Tatti, in Florence
in 1994–95, where I wrote parts of chapters 3 and 4. Other grants from the
Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund, the American Philosophical
Society, the Trent Foundation, the Research Council, and the European Studies
Center of Duke University have helped the research along by freeing time or
by sponsoring trips to archives in Italy. Special thanks go to the staff of the
Interlibrary Loan Office at Duke University for unfailingly pursuing all kinds
of obscure requests and to the staff of the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice and the
Biblioteca Nazionale in Florence.
For their timely generosity and enthusiasm, I wish to thank my many stu-
dents and colleagues at Duke University, and the students and colleagues at the
University of Pennsylvania and at Johns Hopkins University, where I briefly
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