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Masterpieces

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American Literature

Volume One

Longfellow, Hawthorne, Irving

Holmes, Beecher

G. P. Putnam's Sons
New York and London
Tbe knickerbocker Press

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PREFACE.

THE

HE chief object of these volumes is to

amuse; but, perhaps, they may also help to illustrate some phases of American literature. Humor is certainly one of the strong characteristics of our literature; and the attempt has here been made to bring together, in an attractive form and within a moderate compass, some worthy examples of humorous writing, from the time of Irving to the present day. It need scarcely be said that no claim is made to an exhaustive treatment of the subject.

The title for the series was chosen, with some hesitation, as being fairly descriptive, in a general sense. Its strict accuracy may doubtless, in certain instances, be open to question; for, while it is believed that nothing unworthy of preservation has been admitted, it was necessary, in order to make the work fitly representative, to include some sketches which are hardly. entitled to take rank as masterpieces. In jus

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