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99. The Theologians.--100. The Dramatic Writers.
101. Summary of the Period.–102. The Poets : Cowper.
-103. Crabbe.-104. Darwin.-105. The Della-Crus.
cans. — 106. Burns. — 107. Rogers, Bowles. — 108.
WORDSWORTH. - 109. Southey. -110. Coleridge.---
111. Lamb.--112. Campbell.–113. Hogg, Bloomfield.
-114. Moore.- 115. BYRON.-116. Shelley.-117.
Keats.-118. Leigh Hunt, Landor.–119. Other Poets.
--120. The Novelists : Mrs. Radcliffe.—121. Lewis,
Godwin.-122. Miss Edgeworth, Miss Austen.-123.
SCOTT. - 124. Other Novelists. - 125. The Philoso-
phers.–126. The Historians.-127. The Theologians.
128. Hazlitt, Cobbett.–129. The Quarterlies.--130.
The Dramatic Writers.
Page 33, et seq., for 'Boccacio' read Boccaccio.'
In proposing to give an account of the Rise and Progress of English Literature within the space of some two hundred pages, it is desirable, in order to avoid misconception, and, perhaps, in a measure to anticipate certain not unreasonable objections to books of brief compass, that the precise nature of the account here intended should be clearly defined; and that what it includes, and what it does not include, should be plainly set forth. And, first, as to what it does not include. Attractive as it might be to swell the preface with promises, it must at the outset be admitted that original research and a philosophic plan do not come within its scheme. To trace the growth and development of those great latent forces which have determined the direction and the course of English Literature—to recount its history,' and 'to seek in it for the psychology of the people,' must be left to larger and more ambitious works. In this it is simply designed to give a concise, and, as a rule, chronological account of the principal English authors, noting the leading characteristics of their productions, and, where necessary, the prominent events of their lives. Like that of the other books in the series to which it belongs, its primary object is to assist those whose time and opportunities are restricted ;-an object prescribing very definite limits. But, within these limits, care has been taken to make the dates and facts as accurate as possible, to verify all statements from reliable sources, and, as far as is consistent with its plan, to avert the charge of superficiality. In other words, cursory though it must necessarily be in many respects, the author has endeavoured, so far as it goes, to render it exact in detail and particulars; and to make it, if possible, better than the engagement of his title-page. “A meane Argument,' says one of the earliest English prose writers,*
Aaselie beare the light burden of a small faute, and haue alwaise at hand a ready excuse for ill handling: And, some praise it in, if it so chaunce, to be better in deede, than a man dare venture to seeme.'
The eight Divisions or Chapters, in which the book is arranged, are shown so fully in the foregoing table of Contents that it would be superfluous to repeat them here. The reader is warned, however, that they are not scientific, but conventional:—not adopted because it is the writer's opinion that our national literature can be unalterably pigeon-holed in the compartments in question; but be. cause, in grouping the minor round the major authors, it has been found easier to class them in this manner. With a view to curtail mere lists of lesser names, a number of the least important have been consigned to a Dictionary Appendix; and, in illustration of those portions of the earlier chapters which deal with the formation of our language, a few Extracts are printed at the end of the volume. As exhibiting, in some imperfect degree, the condition of English at different periods, these last may be of interest; but can scarcely be regarded as typical samples of the works from which they are taken. For such, when required, the student is referred to some of the professed collections of longer specimens, † or, better still, to the authors themselves. “A great writer,' it has been aptly said, 'does not reveal himself here and there, but everywhere ;' and, to be studied to any good purpose, can only be studied as a whole.
* Roger Ascham : The Scholemaster, 1570 (Arber's Reprint, p. 65).
+ E.g. tbe Spreimens of Early English in the Clarendon Press Series; Hale's Longer English Poeins, Payne's Studies in English Poetry and Studies in English Prose, etc. From the useful Introduction to the last-named book we are indebted for some assistance in our earlier pages.