It is a pleasure to acknowledge some of the colleagues and friends who have contributed to this dissertation. I am grateful to Joshua Landy for his life-changing Proust seminar (before which I had never made it past Swann’s Way), as well as for his humane, levelheaded personal and intellectual style. Franco Moretti’s scientific approach to the nineteenth-century novel has been a constant inspiration to me, and this dissertation has benefited greatly from his readership. While Franco has helped me to keep an eye on the big picture, Monika Greenleaf has shared my enthusiasm for all the little pictures; Monika’s book on Pushkin was the reason I applied to graduate school in the first place, and it has been a privilege to be a party to her literary world: a panorama of authorial duels, marvelous clothes, multilingual puns, polemics, impostors, ventriloquists, and monuments to human ingenuity.
The idea of double-entry bookkeeping as a literary metaphor originated during my study of Isaac Babel with Gregory Freidin, whose approach to biographical criticism and the personal “economies” in human lives has been truly revelatory. At some point, my dissertation turned out to be about our great historical graphomaniacs, and Babel and Grisha somehow escaped from Chapter Five and the reading committee, respectively; but they have never ceased to remain important and honored backstage presences. Gentlemen, I salute you!
I thank Gabriela Safran for an intrepid course of directed reading, and for excellent advice on the dissertation prospectus. Thanks are due to Russell Berman and Louise Freeman for their assistance with funding, and to my dear friends Eric Hsu, Luba Golburt, and Na’ama Rokem, for their valuable readership and comments. I hope that Mathias Brandewinder knows how much I have appreciated his good humor, bookkeeping expertise, and willingness to carry suitcases full of the works of our great historical graphomaniacs. They were not light, those suitcases.
My parents, Olcay and Vecihi Batuman, have provided much moral and material support during the long years of my education. I would like to mention also my grandmother Makbule Ayanlar, whose Turkish editions of Maxim Gorky and André Gide held an honorary place on the bookshelf, near Atatürk’s portrait. Makbule’s death in Ankara this spring, before I had time to make a long-deferred post-dissertation trip to visit her, was a harsh reminder of “the problem of the time of writing.” She has been an invisible presence during the composition of these pages.