The genealogy of this book is, like those of the books discussed in the pages that follow, an unruly one of overlapping origins and intersecting concerns. I am indebted to my father, whose passion for history insists on the relevance of the past to contemporary politics, laws and culture; to my mother, who taught me always to question established wisdom; and most of all to my brother, who long ago determined my focus on the marginalized. I would like to thank in particular Jennie Batchelor, in whom I have been lucky enough to find a colleague at once challenging, insightful, encouraging and inspirational and who unfailingly and generously gave (and continues to give) of her time and guidance. Without her invaluable and constant support and friendship this project would not have been possible.
I would like to thank Donna Landry for spurring me to new lines of enquiry in my research, providing many valuable conversations, being an ever-encouraging and astute critic and not least of all for reading and commenting upon the manuscript in various drafts. I am grateful to the many colleagues and friends whose insights and time have strengthened this book, particularly Vybarr Cregan-Reid, Marie Mulvey-Roberts, Karl Leydecker, Gillian Dow, Phil Stevenson, Sarah Horgan, Petr Barta, Monica Mattfeld, Steve Martin, Manushag Powell, Koenraad Claes, Peter Brown, Cathy Waters, Robert Maidens, Kat Peddie, Barbara Franchi and Declan Wiffen.
The wonderful staff at the University of Kent have been a constant source of help and I offer thanks to Megan Barrett, Gemma Vaughan, Faith Phoenix, Anna Redmond, Andrea Griffith, Claire Lyons, Helena Torres and Emma Bainbridge.
The institutional support that has been crucial to my research must be acknowledged; through the University of Kent I have received funding that has facilitated my research at various libraries and participation in academic conferences and the award of a Chawton House Library fellowship enabled my work on manuscripts and texts that have been vital to my research. I would like to thank the editorial team at Manchester University Press, and particularly Matthew Frost, who have provided guidance and help during the publication process.
Throughout the writing of this book I have been supported by the best of friends and colleagues, Kim Simpson and Victoria Bennett. Without their strength and insight that, to paraphrase Margaret Atwood, taught me to steer through darkness by no stars, I could not have written this book and it is to them that I dedicate this work.