This book received generous support from the Standard Research Grant program sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). This program involves an extraordinary level of peer review, so my first debt is to the anonymous committee members and readers who saw potential for this project. Their generosity allowed me to employ a set of research assistants over the six years it took me to compile the evidence presented here. Lindsey Lorimer, Jodie Salter, and above all Heather Davis-Fisch provided invaluable assistance with the newspaper archive well before the Burney collection was digitized. Heather Davis-Fisch’s intense commitment to this project was remarkable, and she deserves my particular gratitude. It is my strong belief that SSHRC’s commitment to student training benefited both my own work and the doctoral work of the students employed under the tenure of the award. At a time when government support for the humanities is not always appreciated, I want to indicate clearly that the symbiotic relation between faculty and graduate students fostered by the Standard Research Grant program is a model for humanities research and education. It is my sincere hope that the view of scholarship adopted by SSHRC in this program will continue into the future.
This is a book about sociability and much of its argument benefited from kind invitations to share research with communities of like-minded scholars. In 2006 I was part of the group of scholars invited to the Bloomington Eighteenth-Century Studies Workshop at the University of Indiana to explore the topic “Lines of Amity, Lines of Enmity.” I presented a very early version of the final section of chapter 6 and received extraordinarily helpful commentary from my fellow participants, especially Mary Favret, Sarah Knott, Sarah Monks, Jody Greene, and Dror Wahrman. In 2007 I presented versions of chapter 3 and chapter 6 to students and faculty associated with the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of York. For this invitation I am grateful to Jane Moody because it led to stimulating discussions with Kevin Gilmartin, John Barrell, James Watt, and Sarah Monks (again) on the Handel Commemoration. My work on Captain André’s Mischianza was first tested on a group of extraordinary students affiliated with the centre: their generosity on this occasion was remarkable, and many of their questions led to important new directions for research. In 2008 the students in the PhD program in Theatre and Performance Studies at Northwestern University asked me to take part in their 2nd Interdisciplinary Conference. This honor meant that much of chapter 1 was subjected to the scrutiny not only of scholars such as Tracy Davis and Marvin Carlson long recognized as leaders in the discipline, but also of a whole new generation of doctoral students from programs across North America. The lessons learned at that gathering were invaluable. Closer to home, the Eighteenth-Century Reading Group at the University of Toronto kindly worked through my reading of the Handel Commemoration that makes up the first section of chapter 6. Kim Michasiw, Deidre Lynch, and Brian Corman all brought their considerable acumen to bear on the argument; I hope that I have fully addressed their questions. Lisa Freeman and Mark Canuel were kind enough to invite me to present chapter 4 to their departmental reading group at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the winter of 2010 just before the final submission of the manuscript. At the time, almost no one had seen this part of the book, and it was incredibly helpful to rehearse its argument with a mixed audience of graduate students and faculty at UIC. And finally, at an institution that does not draw a large number of students intending to specialize in eighteenth-century studies, I was fortunate to get to present the entire argument of this book in a graduate class at the University of Guelph. Leslie Allin, Siscoe Boschman, Mark Kaethler, Hannah MacGregor, Coplen Rose, and Janet Williams threw themselves into the turbulent mediascape of the late 1770s and 1780s and in so doing provided me with an extraordinary weekly laboratory for this book.
Beyond these highly social engagements, three friends spent a great deal of time alone with this book at different stages in its development. Donna Andrew read at least two full drafts with patience and her customary rigor. Over the past ten years she has been a source of constant inspiration and of almost limitless knowledge of the labyrinthine world of the eighteenth-century press. As with my previous book, Deidre Lynch took time from her busy schedule to read the manuscript when it was in need of a critical reappraisal. She is the most generous and responsible of readers, and her suggestions had a strong impact on both the shape and the tenor of the book. And, finally, Gillian Russell, whose work I so strongly admire, graciously read the entire manuscript at a very late stage. Her precise interventions helped me to fine-tune some of the arguments regarding the relationship between war, sociability, and the restylization of British masculinity in this period. To all three colleagues I wish to offer my thanks. I could not ask for a better set of interlocutors.
I also want to thank Mary Favret for her perceptive reading of the introduction and the coda; Tilar Mazzeo for her suggestions regarding an early draft of chapter 1 and for sharing her work on Burgoyne; Tracy Davis for her thoughts on chapter 1 and on the project in general; Sarah Knott for sharing her tremendous chapter on Major André before it was published in Sensibility and the American Revolution; Lisa Freeman for her incisive reading of chapter 4; and Theresa Kelley for her patient analysis of my reading of “Yardley Oak.” Orrin Wang’s enthusiasm for my work on the Handel celebrations in Calcutta and on Cowper’s “Yardley Oak” bookended this project. He has always been the most supportive of fellow travelers. I was emboldened to conclude this book with a close reading of a poem in part because Sarah Zimmerman and Deborah Elise White responded to my presentation on Cowper at the Toronto NASSR in 2008 with such warmth.
Aside from these specific instances of scholarly generosity, there is a more general social and intellectual milieu that permeates this project. Although there was only one masquerade (thank you, Jane), there were frequent routs where ideas were weighed, tossed, and tasted. Sonia Hofkosh, Julie Carlson, Tracy Davis, Laura Rosenthal, Jennifer Schacker, Jane Moody, Lynn Festa, Teresa Heffernan, Sarah Monks, Emily Allen, Michelle Elleray, Beth Kowaleski-Wallace, Ian Balfour, Greg Kucich, Jeffrey Cox, Geraldine Friedman, Anne Milne, Michael Gamer, Jill Heydt-Stevenson, William Galperin, Misty Anderson, Lisa Freeman, Sarah Zimmerman, Tilar Mazzeo, David Clark, Gregor Campbell, Coby Dowdell, Dino Felluga, Julie-Anne Plax, Catherine Bush, Paul Keen, and Donna Pennee have all offered timely advice, thoughtful critique, and, perhaps most importantly, affable support over the period when this book was written.
A short version of the first section of chapter 1 was published as “Diversionary Tactics and Coercive Acts: John Burgoyne’s Fête Champêtre,” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 40 (2010): 1-23. A preliminary version of the concluding section of chapter 5 appeared as “Mercantile Deformities: George Colman’s Inkle and Yarico and the Racialization of Class Relations,” Theatre Journal 54.3 (October 2002): 389-409. The final section of chapter 6 was published online as “Projection, Patriotism, Surrogation: Handel in Calcutta,” in Orrin Wang’s special issue of Romantic Praxis (Spring 2006) devoted to Romanticism and Patriotism. I owe thanks to all the anonymous readers for these publications for their helpful suggestions.
During the past two years, I have been grateful to Matt McAdam and Trevor Lipscombe at the Johns Hopkins University Press for treating my manuscript and my concerns with care and respect. Thanks to Brian MacDonald, Linda Forlifer, Leslie Allin, Maya Bringe, and Mary Lou Kenney for bringing the book through its final stages.
I also want to thank my friends and family in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver. Starting with my own parents Leo and Celeste O’Quinn, I’ve been blessed with family and friends who believe in me and in what I do. Anne, Michelle, Roger, Babs, Liz, and Art have been with me for many years now, showing me how to live life to the fullest. My sons Gabe and Eli are a constant source of joy. And for making it all endlessly fun, this book is dedicated with love to my intrepid partner Jo-Ann Seamon.