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A MANUAĻ EMBRACING THE GREAT EPOCHS OF ENGLISH LITERA-
TO THE DEATH OF WALTER SCOTT, 1832.
In literature we have present and prepared to form us, the best which has
As The title of my book suggests, this is a history of English Literature, told in familiar style. Its first and overruling purpose is to create a desire on the part of those who read it, to know the best works of our best authors. I do not believe in anything said or written about English Literature which shall serve as a substitute for literature itself, or that does not lead directly to the reading of the best books. For my own part, I would rather know thoroughly half a dozen English classics, than all the works on literature ever written.
Although for several years I have been talking to classes, principally of young women, on the subjects this book includes, this is in no way a report of those talks, but has a unity and sequence which is not quite possible in detached lectures. I have endeavored to show the growth of literature from its beginning down to the end of the first third of this century. From that time the great names that appear are the names of living men, whose place in the archives of literature is not yet assigned. It is time only which tries the value of an author and sets him among his peers.
In a small volume like this, where I have made the attempt to combine brevity with a certain amount of detail about the