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Autobiography and Selected Essays   By: (1825-1895)

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First Page:

AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND SELECTED ESSAYS

by

Thomas Henry Huxley

Note: The notes at the end of the book were originally referenced by page number. I have instead inserted numbers within the text in the format [xx] and cross referenced these to the appropriate notes. D.L.

Edited, with introduction and notes by Ada L. F. Snell Associate Professor Of English Mount Holyoke College

Riverside College Classics Copyright 1909

CONTENTS

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

The Life of Huxley

Subject matter, Structure, and Style of Essays

Suggested Studies

AUTOBIOGRAPHY

ON IMPROVING NATURAL KNOWLEDGE

A LIBERAL EDUCATION

ON A PIECE OF CHALK

THE PRINCIPAL SUBJECTS OF EDUCATION

THE METHOD OF SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION

ON THE PHYSICAL BASIS OF LIFE

ON CORAL AND CORAL REEFS

NOTES

PREFACE

The purpose of the following selections is to present to students of English a few of Huxley's representative essays. Some of these selections are complete; others are extracts. In the latter case, however, they are not extracts in the sense of being incomplete wholes, for each selection given will be found to have, in Aristotle's phrase, "a beginning, a middle, and an end." That they are complete in themselves, although only parts of whole essays, is due to the fact that Huxley, in order to make succeeding material clear, often prepares the way with a long and careful definition. Such is the nature of the extract A Liberal Education, in reality a definition to make distinct and forcible his ideas on the shortcomings of English schools. Such a definition, also, is The Method of Scientific Investigation.

The footnotes are those of the author. Other notes on the text have been included for the benefit of schools inadequately equipped with reference books. It is hoped, however, that the notes may be found not to be so numerous as to prevent the training of the student in a self reliant and scholarly use of dictionaries and reference books; it is hoped, also, that they may serve to stimulate him to trace out for himself more completely any subject connected with the text in which he may feel a peculiar interest. It should be recognized that notes are of value only as they develop power to read intelligently. If unintelligently relied upon, they may even foster indifference and lazy mental habits.

I wish to express my obligation to Miss Flora Bridges, whose careful reading of the manuscript has been most helpful, and to Professor Clara F. Stevens, the head of the English Department at Mount Holyoke College, whose very practical aid made this volume possible.

A. L. F. S.

INTRODUCTION

I THE LIFE OF HUXLEY

Of Huxley's life and of the forces which moulded his thought, the Autobiography gives some account; but many facts which are significant are slighted, and necessarily the later events of his life are omitted. To supplement the story as given by him is the purpose of this sketch. The facts for this account are gathered entirely from the Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley, by his son. For a real acquaintance with Huxley, the student should consult this source for himself; he will count the reading of the Life and Letters among the rare pleasures which have come to him through books.

Thomas Henry Huxley was born on May 4, 1825. His autobiography gives a full account of his parents, his early boyhood, and his education. Of formal education, Huxley had little; but he had the richer schooling which nature and life give an eager mind. He read widely; he talked often with older people; he was always investigating the why of things. He kept a journal in which he noted thoughts gathered from books, and ideas on the causes of certain phenomena. In this journal he frequently wrote what he had done and had set himself to do in the way of increasing his knowledge. Self conducted, also, was his later education at the Charing Cross Hospital... Continue reading book >>




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