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BOOKS BY WILLIAM CLEAVER WILKINSON.
PREPARATORY GREEK COURSE IN ENGLISH
WILLIAM CLEAVER WILKINSON.
C. L. S. C. Department,
The required books of the C. L. S. C. are recommended by a Council
Copyright, 1887, by PHILLIPS & Hunt, New York.
The present volume has an object similar to that of each volume preceding in the AFTER-SCHOOL SERIES to which it belongs. It aims to enable readers knowing English, but not German, to acquire, through the medium of the former language, some satisfactory acquaintance-acquaintance at once general and particular—with the chief classics of German literature.
The method proposed of accomplishing this is—having first premised a rapid summary sketch and characterization of German literature as a whole-to select, with some Spartan hardness of heart, from among German authors no longer living, those generally acknowledged the best, and present these through translation, in specimens from one or more of their respective masterpieces—whether prose or verseaccompanied with such comment, biographical, explanatory, critical, as may be judged desirable in order to securing the fairest and fullest final impression on the reader's mind, primarily, of the true characteristic individual quality of each author treated, and, secondarily, of each author's historic relation and influence.
The limits imposed by the size in which the volume appears were accepted by the writer as on the whole judiciously chosen, but, at any rate, as fixed and unchangeable. His simple problem has been problem simple, though found far enough from easy-to make the best possible use of the inelastic space at his disposal. Considerate judges will estimate his success with wise respect to the conditions under which he has necessarily worked.
Hitherto, in the present series of books, some regard has steadily been had to the proportion in the study of foreign tongues, living and dead, observed by the average American school of higher education. Modern languages, especially the French and the German, but more especially the German, have of late been encroaching somewhat on the ancient preserves prescriptively belonging to those two great languages of antiquity, the Greek and the Latin, in the courses of study established by our colleges and universities. Thus far, however, their place therein remains, and, as the present writer thinks, properly remains, generally less than that of their elder kindred. The room, therefore, narrow though it be, given, in the pages which follow, to German literature, is after all not so very inadequate-measured in comparison with the quasi-authoritative standard, to which, as now hinted, habitual deference has, throughout this series of volumes, been paid.
It has not been thought necessary, or even desirable, in fulfillment of the purpose of the present volume-more than in the case of the volumes preceding in the series—that the author should frequently either make new translations of his own, or secure such from other hands, for the extracts to be introduced. A fresh version will indeed here and there be found in these pages; but for the most part recourse has been had to translations previously existing in English. In general, for each case as it arose, the writer has compared various translations one with another, as also, of course, with their common original, sufficiently to satisfy himself what rendering was, all things considered, best suited to his pur-pose; and then, besides, in the particular passages finally selected from considerable works for transfer to his pages, he has collated his chosen version with the corresponding German text, in order to make corrections or improvements observed by him to be needed. In some instances, however -instances in which the authority of the translator, either for scholarship or for literary skill, was great-he has ro mitted this caution.