This book, like all life, comes into being via a thick web of energies, cares, and desires. The process of finishing it has brought home to me how fully we are nodes in networks of relation that condition who survives and who thrives, and how deeply beholden we are to others in every way, at every level. First thanks must go to Jean Howard, Julie Crawford, and Alan Stewart, all of Columbia University, for the painstaking work of shepherding this project, and me, through the rough formative stages. Mario DiGangi and Kim F. Hall offered revolutionary feedback.
It would never have been a book at all, however, without the interest, enthusiasm, and vote of confidence of Douglas Armato at the University of Minnesota Press. My debts to him and to everyone else who worked on the book are profound. I am deeply grateful to Kathryn Schwarz, Karl Steel, and Holly Dugan for their incredibly charitable and rigorous reviews, which helped to give the project its final shape. Samuel Wylie at the Huntington Library and Ian Graham at the John Carter Brown Library were extremely helpful with images, and Doug Easton prepared the index.
I owe tremendous gratitude to my teachers, every one of whose ethical and methodological insights are visible in these pages: Ian Baucom, Sarah Beckwith, Tom Ferraro, Maureen Quilligan, Jan Radway, Tom Robisheaux, Marc Schachter, and Laurie Shannon at Duke University; Wes Williams at Oxford; and Jenny Davidson, Erik Gray, Molly Murray, and Elizabeth Povinelli at Columbia. I was supported during my time at Columbia by the Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellowship in Humanistic Studies, and by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, which in 2001 generously and convictingly defined my proposed career path as a professor of English literature and gender and sexuality studies as public service, a designation I strive to uphold.
In navigating the early years of an academic career, I have been privileged to benefit from the mentorship and advice—and the sterling scholarly and collegial examples—of Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Carolyn Dinshaw, Elizabeth Freeman, Stephen Guy-Bray, and Jeffrey Masten. My life as a scholar has been vitally enriched and molded by my friendships with a merry band of colleagues in my field. Beloved Shakes-queers, some of whom I have been having this conversation with for a decade now, include Jim Bromley, Simone Chess, Drew Daniel, Will Fisher, Ari Friedlander, John Garrison, Anna Klosowska, Vin Nardizzi, David Orvis, Ryan Singh Paul, Nicholas Radel, Melissa Sanchez, John Staines, Goran Stanivukovic, and Will Stockton. I also thank my brilliant, kind, and generous early modernist friends Patricia Akhimie, Liza Blake, Urvashi Chakravarty, Adhaar Desai, Jean Feerick, Katherine Gillen, Miles Parks Grier, Wendy Beth Hyman, Miriam Jacobson, Shannon E. Kelley, Justin Kolb, Steve Mentz, Tripthi Pillai, Katie Vomero Santos, Emily Shortslef, and Julian Yates.
For invaluable feedback on sections of this project as it took shape, I am grateful to Carla Mazzio, Valerie Wayne, and Cynthia Wu. I benefited greatly from workshopping portions of it at Columbia University’s Early Modern Colloquium, at the University at Buffalo Humanities Institute’s New Faculty Seminar series, and in the works-in-progress talks of Buffalo’s early modern and queer studies research workshops.
At the University at Buffalo (SUNY), I am deeply grateful to all of my colleagues in the new Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies for the life-changing work we are doing together. The mentorship of Carine Mardorossian, Marla Segol, and especially Gwynn Thomas makes my career possible in a very real way. We have all been held afloat by the support, knowledge, and labor of Karen Cleary, Karen Reinard, and Caitlynn Strong.
At Buffalo, I am extremely fortunate to be represented by the Union of University Professionals. I thank them for the NYS/UUP Dr. Nuala McGann Drescher Affirmative Action/Diversity Leave, which they granted me in order to complete this book. I am grateful for the University at Buffalo’s support of this book’s publication through the Julian Park Fund of the College of Arts and Sciences and through the Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME) initiative. I am sustained by the support and intellectual community of wonderful colleagues at Buffalo, most of all Barbara and Jim Bono, Carrie Bramen, David Castillo, Keith Griffler, Graham Hammill, Jim Holstun, Jonathan D. Katz, Arabella Lyon, Carla Mazzio, Stephen Miller, Carl Nightingale, Elizabeth Otto, Randy Schiff, and Ewa Ziarek. And I could not live without the solidarity and mutual aid, past and present, of Dave and Katie Alff, Stephanie Clare, Lindsay Brandon Hunter, Theresa McCarthy, Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, Dalia Muller, Theresa Runstedler, Paige Sarlin, LaKisha Simmons, Camilo Trumper, Jasmina Tumbas, Jang Wook-Huh, and Cindy Wu. Sarah Kolberg’s labor has made many things possible. My students, particularly Seth Arico, Anne Marie Butler, and Julien Fischer, are an inspiration, and it is an honor to work with them. I have also been awed and energized by Ana Grujić, Adrienne Hill, and the other brilliant grassroots queer historians of the Buffalo–Niagara LGBTQ History Project, for their revolutionary embodied historiography, and their cultivation of a living, speaking, dancing archive of queer desires resonating through space and time on the streets of Buffalo.
For opening their homes and providing shelter and hospitality for conference-going, research, and writing, I am grateful to Casey Black and Sarah Irvin, Pearl Brilmeyer, Helen Estabrook, Aileen Gien, Peter Hughes and Britt Welter-Nolan, Amber Musser, Tim Portice, Peter Tsapatsaris, Anna Rubbo, Santiago Taussig-Moore and the whole Taussig-Rubbo family, my oldest best friend Devon Wesley-Whelan, and—though this book will absolutely not sell as many copies as the book he wrote while crashing at my house—Graham Moore.
For their love and solidarity I thank Barbara Andersen, Veronica Davidov, and Anjuli Raza Kolb. For the friendships in which we grew up together, I thank Alexis Blane, Juliet Pulliam, Desi Waters, and Katy Wischow. For my intellectual formation and my very survival, in graduate school and still, I thank Alice Boone, Jen Buckley, Musa Gurnis, Adam Hooks, John Kuhn, and Atticus Zavaletta. And for being my family, my sustenance, I am unspeakably grateful to Jessica Barnett-Moseley, Anya Bernstein, Michael Boucai, Nick Day, Armando Mastrogiovanni, Brian Moseley, Yuki Numata Resnick, Kyle Resnick, Leeore Schnairsohn, and Mateo Taussig-Rubbo.
Abigail Joseph is my collaborator in this project on much more than the pages where she’s cited—my co-creator of a home, a life, and a universe of ideas, aesthetics, and values that made me the person who could write this book.
I am humbled by the love of Peggy Brockman Varnado, Carey and Sharon Varnado, Paul Varnado, Scott Varnado, Lauren Worsek, Charly du Bois, and the scruffy and faithful Darla. Above all, it is my enormous privilege to share this life’s adventures, burdens, and overwhelming joys with Tony O’Rourke.
The long and not uncomplicated effort to conceive, gestate, and birth this book overlapped substantially in time with another long and fraught generative effort, miraculously resulting in the birth of Ardis Marie. She came into the world a desiring machine, and this book is dedicated to her. May she ever invent new shapes of fancy and new ways of being alive.