« ZurückWeiter »
This book is, in the main, an expansion of the text of the author's "Introduction to English Literature." The historical surveys and the biographical and critical sketches are more extended, and nearly twice as many authors are treated at length.
The large number of authors treated has prevented the use of illustrative extracts other than those given in the biographical and critical sketches. It is expected that the book will be supplemented by the reading or careful study of complete masterpieces, the selection of which is left to the judgment of the teacher.
This work traces the course of English literature in its organic development. It presents a survey of the whole field, and reveals to the student the position and relations of the great English writers. The use of separate, unrelated texts, without such a comprehensive survey, results in fragmentary and unsatisfactory knowledge.
Considerable attention has been given to the historical and social conditions 'that largely determine the character of literature. The influence of race, epoch, and surroundings has been clearly pointed out; and thus, not only the history, but also the philosophy, of English literature has been in a measure presented.
This work is intended to be, not a cyclopædia of English literature, but a practical text-book. In the judgment of thoughtful teachers this fact will justify the omission of many names which would serve only to confuse and burden the student's memory. It is believed that as many authors have been treated at length as can be profitably
studied in our schools and colleges. For the sake of greater completeness, a list of less important writers, together with their principal works, is prefixed to each period.
It is hoped that the comparatively full and sympathetic treatment of the great English authors will tend to awaken interest in literature, and give a clearer insight into its nature and beauty. Unusual prominence has been given to the writers of the nineteenth century.
As an aid to many teachers and students, a list of some of the best and most accessible books relating both to the general subject of English literature and to particular authors has been given in an appendix. Not a few references have been given, also, to magazine and review articles of special interest or value. As nearly all of these works have been used in the preparation of the present volume, the writer wishes to refer to them as his authorities.
It is hoped that the list of books appended as a general guide for reading will prove acceptable to a large number of students. It is designed to include only such books as have gained, by reason of some excellence or other, a noteworthy or permanent place in English literature. Many admirable books have been omitted; for, with so great an abundance of literary treasures, the effort has been, not to extend, but to shorten the list.
The author and publishers wish to express their great indebtedness to Mr. Frederick Keppel, of New York City, for the use of his large collection of authentic and finely executed portraits. It is believed that the literary map and the numerous illustrations will add much to the interest and usefulness of the book.
F. V. N. PAINTER.
SALEM, VA., December 26, 1899.