Since almost none of you will ever read “The Formation of British Identity: Navigating the Culture of Merit in the Eighteenth-Century Literary Public Sphere,” I thought I might at least share the acknowledgements page, because you all have my gratitude for your encouragement and friendship during this project:

This project began in the first semester of my graduate studies, out of a project on Thomas Gray’s poem, “The Bard.” In the course of examining the bardic tradition and Gray’s incorporation of a Welsh nationalism into his larger project of British identity, I began to think about the ways in which all of the people of the British Isles navigated this formation of identity. The result is this thesis, which I expect to expand into a dissertation.

At every stage, my research was directed by Dr. David Mazella, who has encouraged and guided me. I owe him many thanks for the numerous ideas and suggestions he has offered, the books he has lent, and the feedback he has provided on multiple drafts of this work. Thanks also go to the other readers of my committee, Dr. Karen Fang and Dr. David Phillips, for their efforts in supporting and guiding this work.

All those who encouraged me to return to school after my long hiatus (and even those who encouraged me to hang onto my sanity by staying away from it) deserve my thanks: Drs. Jeremy and Dennise Templeton, Dr. Dennis and Cheryl Geels, Dr. Kevin Hwang, Erin Mann, and Chris and Alicia Sanders. My colleagues in the University of Houston English program — David Raffetto and Susan Drake — also deserve thanks for their camaraderie and conversation. My family has always supported me in every endeavor, and I appreciate their patience and good humor. My husband, Daniel Sandler, deserves the greatest thanks of all, for his willingness to learn the ins and outs of British identity alongside me, reading drafts and bringing food as necessary.

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