I completed this book at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I have benefited greatly from the support and generosity of my chairs: Julie Hayes, Bill Moebius, Patrick Mensah, David Lenson, and Jim Hicks. Maryse Condé has been an inspiring mentor and a model of how artfully to negotiate the roles of writer, critic, teacher, public intellectual, and matriarch. I am grateful to Dominic Thomas, Cathy Portuges, Maria Tymozco, Ronnie Scharfman, Leah Hewitt, Bruce Baird, Michael Papio, Laura Doyle, and Stephen Clingman for contributing insights and expertise. I thank Rhona Trauvitch for her efficient research assistance during my summers abroad, and Patricia Matthews for providing careful copy-editing in the book's final stages. Many other colleagues and students throughout the Five Colleges have engaged with these ideas and provided inspiring and collegial community.
I remain indebted to Thomas Trezise for his guidance throughout my graduate studies at Princeton University, where this book began. I am grateful also to Michael Wood, Marie-Hélène Huet, Suzanne Nash, André Benhaim, Simon Gikandi, David Bellos, François Rigolot, Caryl Emerson, Gyan Prakash, and Göran Blix for furthering my development as a scholar. Samuel Webber and Sylvie Pebrier in Paris, and Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Lynne Huffer, Shoshana Felman, Cathy Caruth, and Susan Blood at Yale University sparked my interest in many of the questions I pursue here. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in Assia Djebar's seminar at New York University and to exchange ideas on music and democracy. Of the many teachers and mentors who influenced my understanding of music over the years, Mischa Koskoff and Erick Friedmann at Yale marked me profoundly. I feel their absence acutely.
(p.viii) I gratefully acknowledge the generous research support provided by a George Lurcy Fellowship, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, the UMass Amherst Interdisciplinary Studies Institute, and the UMass Amherst Faculty Research Intensive Semester Program. A Henry Hart Rice Fellowship from Yale University funded my residency in Beirut, Lebanon from 1998–1999, where my interests in Francophone writing and multilingualism coalesced.
An earlier version of Chapter Two was published previously in Research in African Literatures; it is reproduced here with kind permission.
At Liverpool University Press, Alison Welsby has nurtured the book with exceptional professionalism and care. Sue Barnes, Patrick Brereton and their staff helped to shepherd the manuscript through to timely completion. David Luljak provided expert assistance in preparing the index. I extend particular thanks to the two anonymous readers whose substantive responses allowed me to sharpen the argument.
Although we are spread out across different continents and all too rarely together, I am immensely grateful to my parents, Anthony and Margaret, for their love and encouragement, and to my brothers, David, Jamie, and Adam, who never fail to inspire, provoke, and challenge me. I greatly appreciate the support that my in-laws, Susan and Barry Ferris, have provided at various stages. Finally, I owe a special debt to Bettina Lerner and Kerry Bystrom whose friendship and ideas have enriched my scholarship in countless ways.
I dedicate this book to Noah and Eli, who have grown up alongside it. And to Jesse, whose love and commitment have lit the way.