THIS PROJECT WAS SUPPORTED by a generous three-year research fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Like many other Canadian scholars, I am grateful to the various scholars willing to commit their time to SSHRC’s many initiatives and whose intensive peer review gave me the confidence to write this book. Funding from SSHRC allowed me to employ a small cadre of superb research assistants. Mark Stephen, Michelle Lobkowicz, Nasrin Gilbert, and Rory McClellan immersed themselves in the relevant archives, and I owe a great deal to their intellectual curiosity and their enthusiasm for late eighteenth-century newspapers. At crucial stages of the research, I received valuable assistance from staff members at the University of Guelph, at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto, at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, at the National Library of Australia, and, perhaps most importantly, at the British Library, especially those librarians working in the India Office and Records Collection. Eva Soos at the J. Morgan Pierpont Library in New York, Martin Durant at the Victoria and Albert Museum, David Rhodes in the Prints and Drawings Collection at the British Museum, and Sylvia Carr at the National Library of Australia were extraordinarily helpful when it came time to collect the illustrations. I am also indebted to the College of Arts at the University of Guelph for financial assistance in procuring images and for facilitating my research in general.
In its early stages, this project was developed on three separate occasions as a graduate course in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. The students’ enthusiasm for, and frustration with, the issues surrounding imperial performance at this historical juncture played no small part in shaping this project. For their patience, their candor, and their curiosity, I am grateful.
Deidre Lynch, Donna Andrew, and an anonymous reader for the Johns Hopkins University Press read the entire manuscript with extraordinary care. Their advice, their commitment, their encouragement, and, most of all, their intellectual generosity has been invaluable. I owe special thanks to Deidre and Donna, for they have been receptive listeners and astute critics of the project from its inception to its completion. Several colleagues with a special interest in Romantic theatre and/or British imperial culture–Betsy Bolton, Julie Carlson, Jeffrey Cox, Michelle Elleray, Mary Favret, Theresa Kelley, and Gillian Russell–agreed to read and comment on sections of the manuscript at different stages of its composition. I couldn’t have asked for a more thoughtful and rigorous group of interlocutors. To a person, they raised crucial questions and provided me with vital information and suggestions without which certain chapters would be much less successful. All these contributions were timely and helpful, but I bear the responsibility for any residual errors. To Julie, Jeff, Gillian, Michael Gamer, and Jane Moody, I owe special thanks for helping me understand by their example how to conduct research in Romantic theatre. Natasha Eaton offered important assistance with some of the images and deserves my thanks. To Orrin Wang, Teresa Kelley, Sonia Hofkosh, Ian Balfour, Sarah Zimmerman, Reeve Parker, Mary Jacobus, David Clark, Laura Brown, Patrick Holland, Jennifer Schacker, Susan Brown, Alan Shepard, and Donna Pennee, my debts are more various and general, but no less important. Their relentless encouragement, careful critique, and timely advice had a significant impact not only on my scholarly activities but also on the composition and revision of this book.
Sections of this work were presented at a meeting of the Washington Area Romantics Group, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, at the Romantic Orientalism conference at the University of Aberistwyth, at the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, and at various meetings of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism. I would like to thank all of the audiences and organizers for their interest, questions, and suggestions. Early versions of some of the materials in chapters 6 and 7 first appeared on two highly innovative electronic resources: my discussion of Starke’s The Sword of Peace was solicited by Michael Eberle-Sinatra and Tom Crochunis for the British Women Playwrights around 1800 website and my analysis of Ramah Droog was published by Romantic Praxis.
During the past two years, I have been grateful to Michael Lonegro at the Johns Hopkins University Press for treating both my manuscript and my concerns with care and respect. Thanks to Juliana McCarthy, Kimberly Johnson, Alexa Selph, and Brian MacDonald for bringing the book through its final stages.
Finally, I want to thank Anne Lyden, Michelle Elleray, Arthur Irwin, Liz Noble, Jennifer Henderson, Jim Ellis, Glenn Mielke, Roger Seamon, and Barbara Seamon for their unwavering support and affection over the years. To my parents, Leo and Celeste O’Quinn, and my sister, Jennifer, I owe more than I can say. Jo-Ann Seamon’s sense of fun, her political commitment, and her love infuse everything I am and everything I do. Our son Gabriel is roughly the same age as this project and this book is dedicated to him.