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EDWIN P. WHIPPLE.

BIOGRAPHY

WORKS: CHARACTER OF WRITINGS: STYLE..............................

354

354

SELECTIONS.

Books

GENIUS

350

357

A MANUAL

OF

AMERICAN LITERATURE .

GENERAL VIEW. Definition.-Literature, in its broadest sense, embraces the

, written productions of every branch of learning and fancy. The ordinary sense, however, in which this term is used, restricts its application to works of taste and sentiment, such as poetry, romance, oratory, the essay, and history / A literary work, in the latter sense, must therefore address itself to the imagination, the emotions, and the æsthetic parts of our nature, rather than to our intelligence, or judgment, or reason; and its province is to delight, refine, and inspire the soul, rather than to engage, inform, or sharpen the mind. Hence, all scientific, professional, statistical, and merely matter-of-fact works must be excluded from a view of literature proper. Such a view it is proposed to maintain in the present article, and also in the selection of authors and extracts from their works hereafter to be presented.

Early Influences. For a hundred and fifty years after the landing from the Mayflower, little or nothing of a literary character had been achieved in America. This will not appear strange, however, if we consider the natural surroundings of the Pilgrims. Primeval forests were to be transformed into dwellings, an unwilling soil was to be subdued and tilled, and a numerous and savage foe, whose

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