This book began nearly a decade ago as a dissertation at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. It seems only fitting that I should begin these acknowledgments by thanking my dissertation committee members, David S. Reynolds, Duncan Faherty, Ammiel Alcalay, and Joshua Wilner, who helped to shape the project in its initial stages. David Reynolds has remained a steadfast supporter of my work, and Duncan Faherty has become a trusted mentor, colleague, and friend. I owe a debt of gratitude to Jenny Davidson, who joined my committee as an outside reader, and has since become a dear friend. At several key phases of this project, as she has throughout my career, Jenny generously offered her expert intellectual guidance and professional advice. I would not be writing these words of thanks without the gift of her friendship.
I should also thank Joe Ugoretz, who directed the Instructional Technology Fellowship (ITF) program where I worked during my final years of graduate school. He remains an exemplar of graduate-student mentorship and advocacy. My colleagues in the ITF program, especially Jeff Drouin, Lisa Brundage, John Sorrentino, and Helen Davis, provided solidarity and support during the dissertation-writing process. Several colleagues in my cohort at the Grad Center, as well as several friends at other institutions, read and commented on early drafts of this work. Anton Borst, Rebekah Rutkoff, Karen Weingarten, Karen Weiser, Nora Morrison, and Tim Alborn deserve particular mention for their input during those years, as does Sari Altschuler, whose path has fortuitously continued to intersect with my own. I am grateful for her friendship as well as her disciplinary expertise, which has significantly enriched this book.
I could not have known that the writing group that Sarah Blackwood, Kyla Schuller, Karen Weingarten, and I convened in my final year in New York would continue into the present, nor could I have imagined how much I would come to rely on it as a source of intellectual engagement and emotional support. Time and time again, these three kind, generous, and razor-sharp scholars read over these pages, commenting at the levels of argument, structure, sentence, and tone. This book is so much better for their contributions, as I am for their friendship.
In my first year in Atlanta, Nihad Farooq and Natalia Cecire quickly became trusted colleagues and treasured friends. Nihad and Natalia are also among those who read numerous chapter drafts, enriching this book with their keen insights. Additional friends read and offered feedback on sections of this book: Matt Gold, Dawn Peterson, and Yanni Loukissas. My thanks goes to them as well.
I thank the anonymous readers at the University of Minnesota Press, whose generous and generative comments greatly improved this book. I also thank the anonymous readers at Early American Literature and American Literature for their feedback on the essays that would become chapters 1 and 5, respectively. Ed Larkin and Ed Cahill offered valuable feedback on the essay in Early American Literature that would form the conceptual basis for chapter 3. J. Michelle Coghlan provided thoughtful commentary on the previously published book chapter from which portions of chapter 4 are drawn.
As I prepared this book for publication, David Lobenstine’s expert editorial eye helped me to refine the book’s argument and structure and pushed me to clarify each and every claim. I remain so appreciative of the time he invested in this project. Thanks are owed also to Paul Vincent, who copyedited the manuscript, and David Martinez, who indexed the book.
Although I moved to Emory University in fall 2019, this book was written during my time at Georgia Tech, where I worked between 2011 and 2019. In the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, my colleagues Nihad Farooq, Yanni Loukissas, Carl DiSalvo, Anne Pollock, Aaron Santesso, Narin Hassan, Chris LeDantec, Nassim Parvin, Joycelyn Wilson, Janet Murray, Hugh Crawford, Carol Colatrella, Susana Morris, and André Brock all provided crucial grounding and moral support as I completed the book manuscript. My department chair during that time, Richard Utz, was steadfast in support of my scholarship. A research fellowship from the New York Public Library (NYPL) in fall 2013 also enabled me to conduct crucial archival work for this project. I thank Thomas Lannon, of the NYPL Manuscripts and Archives Division, for his invaluable assistance and expertise.
At the University of Minnesota Press, deep thanks are owed to Danielle Kasprzak, who acquired the project and guided me through the initial review process; and to Pieter Martin, who saw the book through publication, providing reassurance and support. Throughout the process, Anne Carter remained a constant source of information and expertise. In the production department, Mike Stoffel and Ana Bichanich also provided invaluable assistance.
Over the decade that it has taken to usher this book into the world, I have been buoyed by my friendships: Aileen Brophy, Nora Morrison, Mike Epstein, Sarah Madigan, Toby Moore, Mary Beth Kennedy, Sloan Johnston, Eamon Johnson, Frances Wall Jha, Saurabh Wall Jha, Jess Daniels, Gaylen Moore, JC Dwyer, Jenny Davidson, Jen Liu, Luca Marinelli, Ian Loew, Loren Hough, Meredith Betterton, Nihad Farooq, Todd Michney, Jacob Eisenstein, Shawn Ramirez, Yanni Loukissas, Kate Diedrick, Lauren Wilcox, Richard Patterson, Carl DiSalvo, Betsy DiSalvo, Chris LeDantec, Renata LeDantec, Miriam Posner, Natalia Cecire, Sari Altschuler, Sarah Blackwood, Lauren Waterman, Karen Weingarten, Kyla Schuller, Leora Bersohn, Carrie Weber, Catherine D’Ignazio, and many more I could continue to name. Among my extended family, Jon Zinman and Mary Coffey, Beth and Dick Zinman, and Rand Niederhoffer and Adam Lapidus deserve special thanks for their interest in the project, and their support along the way.
Among the first conversations I had with my partner, Greg Zinman, were about this project, and it is not an understatement to say that this book would not exist without him. For over a decade, I have turned to him in my moments of greatest doubt and greatest inspiration. He has always been ready to listen and to affirm, and in the process he has read countless versions of every chapter of this book. His own scholarship continues to inspire me, as does the love that he shows to our two daughters, Loie and Aurora. Greg: I love you, and I could not have completed this project without you.
It is not everyone who can claim three generations of family involvement in the making of a book. But I can do so, proudly. My grandmother, Elaine Niederhoffer, herself an author, copyedited the seminar paper that would become chapter 1 of this book. I will always feel her influence on these pages. My sister, Amy Klein, a poet and musician, offered a final read of the Introduction on the morning before I submitted it as part of my tenure dossier. My parents, Diane and Francis Klein, also read, commented upon, and line-edited many parts of this book. That they did so with such eagerness was not a surprise, as they were the ones who taught me to read and write as a scholar. Among my strongest grade school memories is of my mother sitting next to me in front of our family’s Macintosh computer as I completed each writing assignment, reading over each line as I wrote, suggesting more nuanced words to use and more sophisticated ways to express my ideas. And it was my father who would offer suggestions of how I could enhance my interpretations, pointing out valences of the language and themes that I had overlooked, often supplementing my classroom notes with his own annotations of each novel or short story or poem that I had been assigned. It is to my parents that I owe my love of learning, and it is to them that I dedicate this book.