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Robert Huntington Fletcher

The author has in preparation an annotated anthology of poems from the popular ballads down, exclusive of long poems. In the meantime existing anthologies may be used with the present volume. The following list includes rather more of the other authors than can probably be studied at first hand in one college year. The editions named are chosen because they combine inexpensiveness with satisfactory quality. It is the author's experience that a sufficient number of them to meet the needs of the class may well be supplied by the college.

This book aims to provide a general manual of English Literature for students in colleges and universities and others beyond the high-school age. The first purposes of every such book must be to outline the development of the literature with due regard to national life, and to give appreciative interpretation of the work of the most important authors.

These assignments must of course be freely modified in accordance with actual needs. The discussions of the authors' works should sometimes, at least, be made by the student in writing, sometimes after a day or two of preliminary oral discussion in class. In addition to the special questions here included, the treatment of the various authors in the text often suggests topics for further consideration; and of course the material of the preliminary chapter is assumed.

TWO ASPECTS OF LITERARY STUDY. Such a study of Literature as that for which the present book is designed includes two purposes, contributing to a common end. In the first place (I), the student must gain some general knowledge of the conditions out of which English literature has come into being, as a whole and during its successive periods, that is of the external facts of one sort or another without which it cannot be understood.

It is not a part of the plan of this book to present any extended bibliography, but there are certain reference books to which the student's attention should be called. 'Chambers' Cyclopedia of English Literature,' edition of 1910, published in the United States by the J. B. Lippincott Co. in three large volumes at $15.00 (generally sold at about half that price) is in most parts very satisfactory. Garnett and Gosse's 'Illustrated History of English Literature, four volumes, published by the Macmillan Co.

FOREWORD. The two earliest of the nine main divisions of English Literature are by far the longest—taken together are longer than all the others combined—but we shall pass rather rapidly over them. This is partly because the amount of thoroughly great literature which they produced is small, and partly because for present-day readers it is in effect a foreign literature, written in early forms of English or in foreign languages, so that to-day it is intelligible only through special study or in translation.

 [Footnote: Scott's 'Ivanhoe,' the best-known work of fiction dealing with any part of this period, is interesting, but as a picture of life at the end of the twelfth century is very misleading. The date assigned to his 'Betrothed,' one of his less important, novels, is about the same.]

THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS. POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS. Of the century and a half, from 1350 to 1500, which forms our third period, the most important part for literature was the first fifty years, which constitutes the age of Chaucer.

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