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“Much ill-natured criticism has been directed on American manners.

I do not think it is to be resented. Rather, if we are wise, we should listen and mend. Our critics will then be our best friends, though they did not mean it.”—EMERSON.


TAE preparation of this volume has extended over a number of years, beginning with the spring of 1861, when the subject of American Poetry formed the last of a course of lectures delivered to the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution ; its design dates from a visit paid to the States, then in the first flush of their reunion, in the autumn of 1865. Shortly after my return, I contributed to the “North British Review" two articles, the substance of the chapters on Lowell and Emerson, with the aim of continuing the series: but while I was engaged on a paper on Hawthorne, circumstances led to a postponement of the project. I was encouraged to resume it by the reception of the outline of “ American Literature” in the Encyclopædia Britannica (1875), which forms the basis of this book. In 1879 I gave a course of six lectures on the subject at Cheltenham; and, last year, in Edinburgh, other two on the Novelists. my intention to have published these lectures much as they were delivered : but, on examination, so many additions—relating to the earlier periods on the one hand, to recent poets and novelists on the other—seemed requisite that, with the exception of three chapters, I have recast the

It was

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