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BY JAMES BALDWIN

1882

PREFACE.

This book is not a History of English Literature. It aims rather to serve as a guide to the acquirement of a practical acquaintanceship with all that is the best and the most worthy in our literature. The chronological arrangement, usually adopted in books upon this subject, has been in most part abandoned for the more natural arrangement by which works of a similar kind are grouped and studied together and compared with each other. This, in the author's judgment, is the only true method of study. To those who may find fault with his classification, he will only say that he has chosen that arrangement which he considers the most convenient for giving aid and information to those in search of a certain kind of knowledge. One man may call a particular poem a Romance, another may call it an Epic; but it matters not so much what we call it as how and in what connection we present it to the attention of the reader or student. No apology is offered for the large number of quotations and extracts which are made from the leading English critics. The brief presentation of the opinions of so many of our best writers on so great a variety of literary productions is a feature of the work which it is believed will be found of special interest and value. The name of the critic quoted is usually given in connection with the quotation, and in all cases it may be found in the Index of Criticisms at the end of the volume. The list of References appended to each chapter will direct the student to the best works
relating to the subjects discussed, and will enable him
to carry on his studies independently and in whatever
direction his taste may dictate.

To those who prefer to study all the works of an author
consecutively, the Index of Authors appended to this
volume will suggest the means by which such study may
be advantageously pursued. The same Index will afford
all the biographical information that it is thought neces-
sary to give in a work on English Literature. The stu-
dent should consult a biographical dictionary, and, when-
ever possible, the books of reference mentioned in this
work.

In his choice of illustrative quotations, the author has
endeavored to select only such as would be of practical
value in exemplifying certain peculiarities in the style of
the poet-or poem-quoted, or such as would best serve to
arouse additional interest on the part of the student and
urge him to further study. The best versions and the
most approved texts have been followed, and—with only
one or two exceptions—the orthography and punctuation
of the originals have been carefully preserved. Except in
a very few cases, where it was thought that such references
would be a practical help to the student, it has not been
deemed necessary to encumber the pages and enlarge the
volume with references by note to the sources or the
editions from which illustrative quotations have been
derived. The arrangement of subjects is such that the
study of English Literature may be begun with any
chapter and followed in any order that the wishes or the
judgment of teachers and students may suggest.

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