Now that it is my turn to try to acknowledge the profound intellectual and emotional gifts I have received during the many years of this book’s conception and production, I hardly know how to begin. At Cornell University, I had the honor of working with inspirational and generous teachers and mentors: Shirley Samuels, whose intellectual and personal generosity and unflagging faith have been a pillar of my career; Mark Seltzer, Laura Brown, and Shelley Wong, who were all inspirational teachers and constructive readers and critics of the best kind; and Lois Brown and Mark Dimunation, who introduced me to the joys of the material text and taught me how to navigate the archive. During the peripatetic stage of my academic career, many people along the way offered important advice and support that nurtured and shaped this project. Kevin Ohi has been an incisive reader and a dear friend. Natalie Friedman, Heather Dubnick, Karen Halil, and Javier Rodriguez formed an ideal writing group at Boston University. The History and Literature Program at Harvard University was a wonderful space for teaching and collegiality; Steve Biel, John O’Keefe, Megan Nelson, Katherine Howe, and Andy Muldoon were particular friends and insightful readers of my work. My student Catherine Shoichet taught me much about Edith Wharton, and I feel very fortunate to have worked with her. Colleen Lanick’s friendship has maintained me across careers and miles. Eliza Richards, Mary Loeffelholz, Melissa Homestead, Faith Barrett, and Alice Rutkowski all offered guidance and constructive criticism that have helped me focus my inquiry.
Philip Goldstein and James L. Machor have my everlasting gratitude for the energy and perseverance with which they have shepherded the Reception Studies Society (RSS) into existence. I must thank them both for their support of my projects throughout the years, and thank particularly James Machor for his insightful reading and profoundly helpful comments on this project. I have met a number of kindred spirits through the RSS, foremost among them Barbara Hochman, whose work I deeply admire and who has been generous with her time, her counsel, and her wonderful sense of humor. Charles Johanningsmeier, Barbara Ryan, and Emily Satterwhite, fellow fans of other people’s mail, have been wonderful resources and offered key suggestions as I researched and revised this project. Other scholars have read and commented on portions of this text in various capacities; I am beholden to Eric Lott, Priscilla Wald, and Mary Chapman for their constructive criticism and support of the project at various stages. Helen Damon-Moore was generous with her expertise about the Ladies’ Home Journal, and for this I owe her a debt of gratitude. An anonymous reader for Temple University Press offered many key suggestions for strengthening the project.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have landed in the English Department at Marquette University, where I have found a supportive institution and the most generous and sympathetic friends and colleagues imaginable. Tim Machan and Krista Ratcliffe, as chairs of the department, have been paragons of humane leadership: unflaggingly supportive, unselfish with their time, and generous with financial support for research and writing. I must particularly thank John Curran, Heather Hathaway, Diane Hoeveler, Al Rivero, Angela Sorby, and Amelia Zurcher, who are exemplary senior colleagues. John Su, Jodi Melamed, Rebecca Nowacek, Cindy Petrites, and David Nowacek are persons who defy categorization: colleagues, dear friends, and adoptive family, this book simply would not have been possible without their critical readings, their sympathetic ears, and their fellowship.
My research assistants, Kathleen Burt, Robin Graham, Linden McBride, and Abby Van de Walle, were instrumental in building a database for working with the compendious columns of Hamilton Wright Mabie. I simply could not have done this project without their hard work. Janet Francendese at Temple University Press has been a gracious and patient editor, and I will always be thankful to Micah Kleit for introducing us. Charles Ault at Temple, and Tim Roberts and Jane Lichty at the American Literatures Initiative, have made the production process a pleasure.
For material support at various stages of the project, I am grateful to the following: the Olin Foundation, for a graduate Olin Fellowship; Marquette University, for two Summer Faculty Fellowships; the Graduate School at Marquette University, for a travel grant to pursue research; and the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences at Marquette University, for a Junior Faculty Fellowship. The archivists at Yale’s Beinecke Library, Harvard’s Houghton Library, and The Mount were tremendously helpful as I researched this project, and thanks are due to these institutions for permission to cite from archival materials. I must particularly thank Jennie Rathburn at the Houghton and David Dashiell at The Mount for their assistance to a geographically bound researcher. I thank Amy Beckwith for her gracious permission to quote from Edith Wharton’s letter to Francis Kinnicutt and the anonymous poem that was interleaved in Wharton’s first edition of The House of Mirth. An earlier version of chapter 4 appeared as “Misreading The House of Mirth” in American Literature 76, no. 1 (March 2004).
Last, and at long last, I must try to find the words to express the profound gratitude I owe to my family. I count myself the most fortunate of people to have gained Takeko, Masaaki, Dan, and Kentaro Toyama as parents and siblings through marriage. I will never be able adequately to express my love and gratitude to my parents, Anna and Neil Blair, for their enduring faith in me and for their physical and spiritual support. My daughters, Eleanor and Abigail, and my husband, Haruki Toyama, have sacrificed the most for this project—their love and patience are the condition of possibility for this work, and it is dedicated to them.