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ENGLISH LITERATURE:

ITS

Blemishes & Defects.

BY

Hegart
HENRY H. BREEN, ESQ. F.S.A.

“La vérité qui blâme est plus honorable que la vérité qui loue.”

J. J. ROUSSEAU.

LONDON,

LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, & LONGMANS,

PATERNOSTER ROW.

1857.

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PREFACE.

The few introductory remarks, which I have to offer, have reference chiefly to the Chapters on Composition,” “Blunders,” and “Mannerism."

Being persuaded that imaginary examples of errors seldom make any impression on the reader, I have, in every instance, cited the name of the author, together with the title of the work from which the quotation is made. When practicable or convenient, I have given several examples, and from different writers. The more the reader is convinced of the prevalence of any error, the more likely he will be to guard against the occurrence of it in his own writings. In no case, however, does this prevalence amount to what Quintilian calls the consensus eruditorum. It is admitted that a mode of speech, however faulty when first introduced, ceases to have that

character as soon as it receives the express sanction of the learned. The errors of which I speak are generally the result of ignorance or inadvertency, neither of which can be said to imply concurrence or consent. Moreover, in every instance where I cite an erroneous locution, I can quote far more numerous examples of the correct form.

From the list of authors quoted, I have excluded—1st, our poets of every period and degree; deeming it superfluous to quote, errors which might be defended or excused on the score of poetical license, rhythm, and even rhyme; 2ndly, with three or four exceptions, the writers who flourished before the present century. Errors which are wholly inexcusable at the present day, may well be pardoned in an age when the rules of our syntax were comparatively undetermined.

The examples are thus confined to the writers of our own time, and among these to our chief historians and essayists. No one is surprised to hear that ungrammatical forms of speech are to be met with, at every page, in that species of literary production, to which we apply the terms

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