This book was thought of in Berlin, largely written in Los Angeles, and
changed by Tokyo. The book is in many ways shaped by these places, which
enter into its stories of self- curved worlds. I am at every moment of the
study indebted to UCLA, for great students and wonderful colleagues, a sal-
ary and a workplace, and an administrative zeal that makes official business
as usual more usual than usual: hence this book.
My thanks to many friends and colleagues—in, among other places, New
York, New Haven, Chicago, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Providence, Prince ton,
San Juan, London, Berlin, Cologne, Bonn, Uppsala, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney,
Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul— for inviting me to try out pieces of
the book, and for the good challenges and good advice that helped make it
Here I want to name just a few who contributed with timely kindness,
and remarkable keenness, and real generosity to the situation of its writing:
Mark McGurl, Michael North, Sianne Ngai, Bill Brown, Kate Marshall, Fran-
ces Ferguson, Hanjo Berressem, and Ken Wissoker.
The book is for two people whose names are not, for me, on any list, even
a short one.
For my dearest friend, for her loveliness and bravery and love, and her so
special way of carry ing a tune.
For my son, for his strength of heart, wondrous wit and intelligence,
and everything he has given me for the better part of my life.
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