Ralph Houlbrooke, Reading, September 2010
I was delighted to be asked to contribute a volume to this series under the distinguished editorship of Keith Robbins. I am grateful to him for his encouragement and unfailing confidence. He read the whole text in early drafts and made several helpful suggestions. I have been fortunate in being able to discuss various topics addressed in this book with friends and colleagues at Reading, including Alan Cromartie, Joël Félix, Rachel Foxley, Richard Hoyle, Esther Mijers, Helen Parish, Frank Tallett, Stephen Taylor and David Trim. However, the customary authorial acknowledgement of responsibility for all errors needs to be made with particular emphasis in this case. My heartfelt thanks go to Margaret Houlbrooke for her understanding, enthusiasm and staunch support during a period of work on this book that turned out to be longer than either of us imagined at the outset, and especially for reading the whole of a nearly final version of the text.
In the closing stages of preparing this book for publication I have been fortunate in working with Fiona Cairns as editor and Emily Gibson as production project manager. I should like to take this opportunity of thanking them for being unfailingly responsive, helpful and patient.