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ENGLISH LITERATURE

BY

HENRY S. PANCOAST
Instructor in English Literature in the De Lancey School

Philadelphia

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PREFACE

This book is based upon a previous one, Representative English Literature, which I have enlarged in some directions and curtailed in others, in order to adapt it to somewhat different requirements. In the former book a series of English masterpieces was given in a general setting of critical and historical comment; the development of the literature being thus shown with the aid of representative extracts illustrative of the successive literary epochs. Subsequent experience has strengthened my confidence in the soundness of the principle on which that book was prepared, and for those who have not easy access to books, or who cannot conveniently obtain a number of separate works for class use, the insertion of the suggested selections is clearly an advantage. On the other hand, some teachers may wish to use the historical and critical portions of such a book, without being restricted to prescribed selections. It is in the hope of meeting the needs of teachers of the latter class, and of more advanced students, that the present manual has been prepared. To this end I have added some two hundred pages of entirely new matter, omitting all the selections and notes included in the former work. The text has thus been nearly doubled in length,and the book, as a whole, brought within

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slightly smaller limits. It has still been my object to send the student directly to the literature itself, but here I have merely suggested in reading lists the selected works, giving them in some instances with general hints for study. The book is intended to be subordinate and supplementary to this, or some similar, course of study; and the text is often made a commentary, more or less direct, on the works given in the reading list which follows. I have tried to respect that freedom and individuality on the part of the teacher which I believe so essential to the best results, and I hope the book will be found adapted to other courses of study than those which I have given. It is not, of course, expected that in any case the class will read all the works suggested, but the lists and references have been made comparatively full in order to afford a greater liberty of choice. I have said that it has been my ambition to write an introduction to English literature—a book which shall occupy a useful, but strictly subordinate place. It is still my conviction that a history of English literature and a working hand-book, such as this aims to be, are two radically different things. The first aims to trace the growth and progress of a literature with the primary purpose of unfolding and explaining the law and nature of its development. The second, while it has indeed this object, should have also another. It is primarily addressed to students, and its treatment of literary history should be to a considerable extent determined and modified to meet their special needs. It should of course endeavor to give a true historic perspective, but

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