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Set up and electrotyped.: Published February, 1913.
This book is intended as a textbook for secondary schools; it is a guide to the study of the classics read in these schools and required for admission to college in English. Its purpose is not to take the place of the introductions and notes of the annotated editions, but to supplement them. The objects of the study of any classic in the secondary schools are four: (1) to understand the language of the classic; (2) to appreciate its literary qualities, especially those qualities that make the classic a masterpiece of the type of literature to which it belongs; (3) to realize the connection of the classic with life, and (4) to fix the place of the classic in literary history. For the first of these objects, the annotated editions give ample help. In this textbook, therefore, purely philological notes have been, for the most part, avoided. In Part I, the primary aim has been to define briefly the various literary types and to impress their most salient characteristics by an inductive study of representative classics. An effort has also been made to bring the thought of the classics into relation with ordinary experience. There are
some who believe such a "literary study” impracticable. The author thinks otherwise. His experience in teaching in the secondary schools has led him to believe that something more can be done to systematize "literary study.” He realizes the difficulty of keeping a consistent course between the obvious and trivial on the one hand, and the vague and impressional on the other, and can hardly expect to be free from error in one or the other direction. If, however, some contribution is made toward systematic literary study in the secondary schools, and
if the subject is made more stimulating to students and more suggestive to teachers, the purpose of the book will have been achieved. The method of treatment is from the simple and easy to the more complex and difficult, but emphasis has been placed on the classics usually required for “careful study." A sufficient number of the classics has been treated to give the teacher ample freedom of choice. The notes are, of course, intended to be merely suggestive, not exhaustive. It is hoped, however, that the book will be helpful to both experienced and inexperienced teachers: to the former, by saving time usually devoted to preliminary work and by bringing the student to class better prepared for fruitful discussion; to the latter, by suggesting various lines of interest and promoting more systematic study.
Part II consists of a brief survey of English literature with assigned readings from the literature itself. Much study about authors whose books the student has never read is of doubtful utility. A wiser plan is to use a very brief account of the literature in connection with a considerable amount of reading in the literature itself arranged chronologically. In studying Part II, therefore, emphasis should be placed upon the suggested readings.
I am indebted for many helpful suggestions to my colleagues, Professors H. M. Belden, A. H. R. Fairchild and Walter Miller; also to Principal W. F. Beardsley and Miss Effyan Wambaugh of the Evanston (Illinois) Township High School. In Part II, my obligation to Moody and Lovett's History of English Literature is more than can be indicated in footnotes.
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