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It is coming to be understood that the object of education is rather the attainment of power than the acquisition of knowledge. To know either many things or very much about any one thing is less important than to know how to do things. The recognition of this principle is transforming methods of teaching in all departments. Research is the new watchword. Once regarded as the special function of the most advanced students, research is now seen to be the proper activity even of children in the lower grades. The elation of discovery is the best stimulus for minds of all classes and at all stages.

How to apply the principles of research to the teaching of literature is now the main problem to be solved in the department of English. Once it was the custom to give students of literature books to learn about authors. Then the manuals and histories of literature were displaced, and the masterpieces themselves were introduced into the schools, to be read and expounded in recitation. The ancient practice of annotating Latin and Greek texts for school use was allowed to set the example for books in the mother tongue, and these too appeared, and are still wont to appear, with explanations and definitions to facilitate the getting of lessons.

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