If Acknowledgments often possess a wistful tone, it is because with them an author looks back on a period of one’s life while thanking those people whose help was essential during it. In this case that period was long and my efforts over it were sustained alike by family, teachers, students, and friends. To express my appreciation to them, and to note their contributions to this project in its various stages, it is also necessary then to describe beginnings as well as endings.
This work began as a dissertation under the direction of John Matthews, whose contribution and support extended far beyond the role of thesis advisor. His influence is evident on several levels of this book as well as in areas outside of Yoknapatawpha and academe. For that and for much more I owe him a measure of gratitude I can only imagine repaying by offering such support to students of my own—but which I have trouble envisioning, given the standards for excellence he has shown me. His work is a testimony to both his enduring fascination with Faulkner and his support of others’ efforts to read Faulkner anew.
My parents, Jim and Nancy Lurie, contributed a great deal both directly and indirectly along the way of this project. To them both I wish to express my utmost appreciation. Of my father I should say that, like those of other writers before me, he overcame his misgivings about a son’s long indenture to writing (while also not being “of a bum progenitive”) and gave unqualified, loving support. My mother, who died while I was in the middle of work on this study and to whom it is dedicated, strongly encouraged appreciation of visual expression and artistic meaning. She remains an inspiration for any act of hard work and imagination and is present in the most genuine moments of such an effort here.
There are several other individuals and parties whose help added significantly to the project. John Paul Riquelme offered insight and advice at key junctures throughout the stages of work; his role in the beginning of its life as a book, as near its end, was instrumental. He too provides a model of scholarly life and activity that I admire deeply and a friendship that I value even more. Leland Monk’s input was essential to ensuring that the project treated film as a real entity—and not just as a theoretical model or idea. His affection for and understanding of film’s history and no less important aesthetics are animating presences throughout.
A number of friends and colleagues offered support in the form of readings of chapters as well as, and perhaps more importantly, moral support. Among them are Jonathan Mulrooney, Mark Eaton, Laura Johnson, and Rebecca Schoff. Jonathan has glided effortlessly to a position as a professional colleague yet still helps maintain a vital, ingenuous, nonprofessional perspective. Mark is a fellow-traveling Americanist and has been an optimistic and encouraging—indeed, hopeful—voice over our long friendship. Laura was a wonderfully sensitive reader of chapters in draft form and a no less gracious and cherished colleague. Rebecca came through famously with a last-minute, highly astute reading of the book’s conclusion. Without them I would not be where I am today with this work and otherwise.
My anonymous reader at the Johns Hopkins University Press provided invaluable suggestions for the manuscript’s revision. In particular, his advice about the use of Faulkner’s original text of Sanctuary and the invitation for a more expansive conclusion led to some of the more important readings in the book. Carol Zimmerman, senior production editor at the Press, patiently and clearly answered several important questions toward the project’s end. Humanities editor Michael Lonegro helped with his correspondence and attentive ear.
I would like to thank the administration of the Special Collections of Mugar Library at Boston University. Sean Noel and his staff were extremely helpful in my reading the gangster and pulp novels on which my discussion of Sanctuary draws. I would also like to thank the reader at American Literature, whose promptings toward history helped strengthen my chapter on Absalom, Absalom! considerably when it was still in article form. In particular I thank the journal’s managing editor Frances Kerr for her focused, good-natured approach to our work, the effects of which are still evident here. The editors of American Literature as well as of the journal Études Faulknériennes have also kindly granted permission to reprint materials that appeared originally in those journals.
My final and most important thanks are for Kristin. Her understanding and support are indeed remarkable, on which my daily happiness and very wellbeing, let alone any scholarly endeavors, depend. Just as remarkable though are her deep intelligence and perhaps better knowledge of the importance of everything beyond this book. There are many and more significant meanings of immanence that define our time together. She is the love and the real vision in my life.