I am pleased to see these essays gathered between two covers. While each essay describes how I see things now, ideas breathe and grow, and I hope these do too. And so I offer them as works in progress. For the process of getting them this far, I owe many thanks all around. To my longtime friend Ann Swidler and to the late Michael Rogin, I owe thanks for looking with me into the early mists from which these ideas emerged. Thanks to Jerry Karabel and Mike Hout for help hunting down information of different sorts. I owe a great deal to the sage, perceptive advice of Tom Englehardt on the whole gestalt of these essays and for suggesting what didn’t belong. For excellent research assistance, many thanks to Allison Pugh and Roberta Espinoza, and for their wonderful support and careful work, many thanks to UC Press editors Naomi Schneider and Sue Heinemann and copyeditor Kay Scheuer. For careful typing, and unpredictable giggle fits, many thanks to Bonnie Kwan.

I want to pay special tribute to Ilse Jawetz, with whom I’ve talked every weekday for nearly thirty years—about children, writing, Freud, Hider, love, and all the harsh and gende mysteries of life. Thank you so much for being my friend. I am the better for it.

And many thanks to my husband, Adam, who captured my heart at age twenty and has kept it with him ever since. He’s lived with these ideas nearly as much as I, and has read these essays at various stages. He’s said things about content, of course, but he’s a real stickler for style too. To impress on me the dangers of using too many quotation marks, he commented in the margin of one early draft, “Oy!” “So” “many” “quotation marks” “around” “so” “many” “words” “makes” “the” “essay” “seem” “weird.” Quotation marks, he sensibly pointed out, are a way of placing reservations on our use of a word, and we need to have a good reason for doing that. So, the few quota­tion marks in this book that have resisted his red upward-tilting deletion marks had to make a strong case in writer’s court for their right to stay. I “thank” “him” “for” “his” “good” “advice,” and send him love with no quo­tation marks.