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A HISTORY

OF

ENGLISH LITERATURE

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PREFACE.

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This book has been written, in the first instance, to meet the requirements of my own classes in their preparation for the Leaving Certificate, the University Local, and other Public Examinations. I have good reason, however, for believing that the want of a new text-book of Literature is pretty generally felt, and in that belief the book is published for the use of Secondary Schools and private students. It embodies the practical experience of nearly twenty years' teaching of the subject with which it deals.

The book is a brief review of English Literature throughout its entire extent, from 449 to 1894. This long stretch of history is taken in six convenient periods, and a survey is made of each period, first in its political, and secondly in its literary aspect. A classification of the leading authors of the period is then made, and is followed by biographical and critical sketches, containing the most recent results in fact and fair criticism. In treating of the poets, I have made it a special feature of the book to give specimens from their work at once characteristic of their style and illustrative of their genius. Notice is taken of most, if not all, of the minor authors of established reputation; and each period is closed with pretty full chronological lists of the various authors belonging to it, and the more important works

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