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A HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

Let us now praise famous men,
Such as found out musical tunes,
And recited verses in writing. .
Their bodies are buried in peace;
But their name liveth for evermore.

The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of

Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus

A HISTORY OF
ENGLISH LITERATURE

A PRACTICAL TEXT-BOOK

BY

EDWARD ALBERT, M.A.
GEORGE WATSON'S COLLEGE, EDINBURGH, AUTHOR OF

"A PRACTICAL COURSE IN ENGLISH"

NEW YORK

THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY

PUBLISHERS

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912 A 333 h

PREFACE

It may be of use to explain briefly the principles underlying the construction of this book.

In the first place the aim has been to make the book comprehensive. All first-class and nearly all second-class authors (so far as such classification is generally accepted) have been included. Due proportion between the two groups has been attempted by giving the more important authors greater space.

The complete index should assist in making the book a handy volume of reference as well as a historical sketch.

In accordance with the plan of making the volume as comprehensive as possible, a chapter has been added dealing with modern writers. An attempt of this kind has certain obvious drawbacks; but it has at least the double advantage of demonstrating the living nature of our literature, and of setting modern authors to scale against the larger historical background.

Secondly, the endeavor has been to make the book practical. Discussion has been avoided; facts, so far as they are known and verifiable, are simply stated; dates are quoted whenever it is possible to do so, and where any doubt exists as to these the general opinion of the best authorities has been taken; there are frequent tabulated summaries to assist the mind and eye; and, lastly, there are the exercises.

It would be as easy to overpraise as it is to underestimate the value of the exercises. But in their favor one can at least point out that they enable the student to work out for himself some simple literary and historical problems; that they supply a collection of obiter dicta by famous critics; and that they are a storehouse of many

M84718

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