Many people have helped me in the long process of researching and writing this book. They have done so through conversations both extended and brief; by sharing unpublished work, references, ideas, and images; by deploying linguistic skills; and by engaging in critique (gentle or not) when earlier versions of this work were presented at seminars and conferences. I owe particular debts to Jayani Bonnerjee, Richard Bourke, Huw Bowen, Stephen Caffey (who gave me the title for chapter 6), Dan Clayton, Andrew S. Cook, Hal Cook, Phil Crang, Michael Dodson, Florence D'Souza, Markman Ellis, Jim Epstein, David Featherstone, Anindita Ghosh, Andrew Grout, Darab Haghipour, Santhi Hejeebu, Amin Jaffer, Shompa Lahiri, David Lambert, Javed Majeed, Peter Marshall, Robert Mayhew, Kapil Raj, Fiona Ross, Jim Secord, Álvaro Sequeira Pinto, Sujit Sivasundaram, Philip Stern, and John Styles. I know most of them will have their doubts, but I accept my responsibilities for what I have done with their wise counsel.
This work would certainly not have been possible without the support and inspiration of other historical geographers, particularly Mona Domosh, Felix Driver, Michael Heffernan, David Livingstone, Chris Philo, and especially Charles Withers, a fellow geographer of the book. At the Department of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London, I am very lucky to have colleagues and friends who are willing to tolerate someone so irretrievably stuck in the past, especially Alison Blunt, Ray Hall, Roger Lee, Jon May, Philip Ogden, Alastair Owens, Bronwyn Parry, David Pinder, Simon Reid-Henry, Adrian Smith, and Nigel Spence. I am very grateful to Edward Oliver for drawing the maps.
This work has been supported by a Philip Leverhulme Prize from the Leverhulme Trust (2001–2003) and a small grant from the British Academy. It has benefited from the assistance of librarians in the Oriental and India (p.xiv) Office Collection and the Rare Books and Manuscript rooms of the British Library, the Special Collections room and Goldsmiths' Library of the University of London's Senate House Library, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library (Los Angeles), the Huntington Library (San Marino), and the New York Public Library. I would like to thank Blackwell Publishers for letting me reuse material originally published as “Writing travels: power, knowledge and ritual on the English East India Company's early voyages,” in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (2002), and Hodder Arnold for letting me reproduce material first published in Cultural Geographies.
This book would not have been brought into being as an object in the world without the rare combination of enthusiasm and calm professional skill possessed by Christie Henry at the University of Chicago Press. I also thank the publisher's readers for their insightful comments and encouraging words, and Michael Koplow for his careful and flexible copyediting.
Others have helped by not asking too much. Nicholas Robson, Juliette Enser, John (J.P.) Horan, John Maher, Charlie Smith, Michael Pryke, Christian Frost, Scott McCracken, Michael Fitzgerald, and Patrick Fitzgerald; Jon and Joan; Kate, Nick, and Cora; Harriet, Andrew, Matthew, and Louis; Bridgit and David Nash; Gráinne and David Forrai; and, of course, Jane Ogborn (for whom books are not a thing but the thing) will all wonder how it took so long. This book is dedicated to my grandfather, an actuary and company historian who knew the power of words and numbers, and my grandmother, a woman who loves a good story.
In the end it is Catherine Nash without whom none of this would be worthwhile. She knows what it means that the monkey of the inkpot can now unfold its silken paws, drink its dark draft, and sit back on its haunches to rest.