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The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A.
Most of the Essays and Addresses in this volume were revised for publication by Mr. Lowell, but it is doubtful whether he would have printed the paper on “ Richard III.” in its present form. He was not satisfied with it, and proposed to recast it. It has seemed to me, however, of interest enough to warrant its publication. I am indebted to the Grolier Club of New York for permission to publish the essay on the “ Areopagitica,” which was written for an introduction to an edition of that work issued for the members of the Club.
The Lectures on the Old English Dramatists were read at the Lowell Institute in Boston in the spring of 1887. They were rapidly written, and in their delivery much was added extemporaneously, suggested by the passages of the plays selected for illustration of the discourse. To many of these passages there was no reference in the manuscript ; they were read from the printed volumes. The lectures were not revised for publication, but, imperfect as they are, they contain such excellent and interesting criticism, and are, in part, such genuine pieces of good literature, that I have judged them not unworthy to be given to the public.
CHARLES ELIOT NORTON. 1892.