Preface
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ix Preface The idea for this book was born one afternoon in March 1999 at the University of California at Berkeley. I got into a conversation with Ronald Numbers , who mentioned an exploratory essay I had published a few years earlier on the idea of humans before Adam. Ron suggested that I might return to that theme to try to flesh out the story and write a full history of the scheme. The journey on which I embarked that afternoon has taken me to many intellectual destinations, some strange, some familiar, all fascinating. And while I am sure that I have not said everything that could be said about the idea of pre-adamic humanity, I am greatly indebted to Ron for encouraging me to embark on this expedition. Along the way I have benefited enormously from his continuing interest and support and from the help I have derived from many friends and scholars. I owe an immense debt to Colin Kidd both for making his Forging of Races available to me prior to publication and for numerous bibliographical leads. The stimulus of his scholarship on the history of ethnic identities has been inspirational. Another afternoon conversation, this time with Andrew Holmes, proved to be invaluable in helping me sort out a coherent structure for the entire book. The fact that he also persistently drew my attention to numerous fugitive publications has only placed me more deeply in his debt. The care that Nicolaas Rupke took in reading the entire manuscript and saving me from some embarrassing errors is both typical of his erudition and scholarship and a mark of his valued friendship. I have benefited greatly, too, from many enlightening conversations with good friends such as Diarmid Finnegan, Frank Gourley, Nuala Johnson, Mark Noll, and Stephen Williams, some of whom took the time and trouble to read portions of the manuscript and offer the best of advice. Luke Harlow willingly provided me with useful bibliographical leads on some American dimensions of the subject; Simon Schaffer directed me to some important seventeenth-century x Preface work; Philip Orr brought his dramatist’s eye to bear on the entire text and offered excellent counsel; Jeremy Crampton awakened me to dimensions of the story with which I was unfamiliar and shared with me some of his unpublished work; and Martin Rudwick read several parts of the manuscript, offering sage and salient advice on several points. I am also extremely grateful to Gill Alexander and Maura Pringle for their skill in working with illustrations and to Elizabeth Gratch for patient and careful copyediting. To all these colleagues and friends I record my appreciation in the certain knowledge that, whatever its imperfections, Adam’s Ancestors is the better for the help they have willingly given. But my greatest debt is, as always, to Frances, Emma, and Justin, who have had to share too many dinners with the ghosts of Adam’s ancestors. adam’s ancestors This page intentionally left blank ...