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Classic French Course in English   By: (1833-1920)

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= THE AFTER SCHOOL SERIES. =

CLASSIC FRENCH COURSE

IN ENGLISH.

BY

WILLIAM CLEAVER WILKINSON.

NEW YORK: CHAUTAUQUA PRESS, C. L. S. C. DEPARTMENT, 805 BROADWAY. 1886.

COPYRIGHT, 1886,

BY PHILLIPS & HUNT.

OTHER VOLUMES IN THE AFTER SCHOOL SERIES

BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

PREPARATORY GREEK COURSE IN ENGLISH $1.00 PREPARATORY LATIN COURSE IN ENGLISH 1.00 COLLEGE GREEK COURSE IN ENGLISH 1.00 COLLEGE LATIN COURSE IN ENGLISH 1.00

The required books of the C. L. S. C. are recommended by a Council of six. It must, however, be understood that recommendation does not involve an approval by the Council, or by any member of it, of every principle or doctrine contained in the book recommended.

ELECTROTYPED AND PRINTED BY RAND, AVERY, & COMPANY. BOSTON.

PREFACE.

The preparation of the present volume proposed to the author a task more difficult far than that undertaken in any one of the four preceding volumes of the group, THE AFTER SCHOOL SERIES, to which it belongs. Those volumes dealt with literatures limited and finished: this volume deals with a literature indefinitely vast in extent, and still in vital process of growth. The selection of material to be used was, in the case of the earlier volumes, virtually made for the author beforehand, in a manner greatly to ease his sense of responsibility for the exercise of individual judgment and taste. Long prescription, joined to the winnowing effect of wear and waste through time and chance, had left little doubt what works of what writers, Greek and Roman, best deserved now to be shown to the general reader. Besides this, the prevalent custom of the schools of classical learning could then wisely be taken as a clew of guidance to be implicitly followed, whatever might be the path through which it should lead. There is here no similar avoidance of responsibility possible; for the schools have not established a custom, and French literature is a living body, from which no important members have ever yet been rent by the ravages of time.

The greater difficulty seen thus to inhere already in the nature itself of the task proposed for accomplishment, was gravely increased by the much more severe compression deemed to be in the present instance desirable. The room placed at the author's disposal for a display of French literature was less than half the room allowed him for the display of either the Greek or the Latin.

The plan, therefore, of this volume, imposed the necessity of establishing from the outset certain limits, to be very strictly observed. First, it was resolved to restrict the attention bestowed upon the national history, the national geography, and the national language, of the French, to such brief occasional notices as, in the course of the volume, it might seem necessary, for illustration of the particular author, from time to time to make. The only introductory general matter here to be found will accordingly consist of a rapid and summary review of that literature, as a whole, which is the subject of the book. It was next determined to limit the authors selected for representation to those of the finished centuries. A third decision was to make the number of authors small rather than large, choice rather than inclusive. The principle at this point adopted, was to choose those authors only whose merit, or whose fame, or whose influence, might be supposed unquestionably such that their names and their works would certainly be found surviving, though the language in which they wrote should, like its parent Latin, have perished from the tongues of men. The proportion of space severally allotted to the different authors was to be measured partly according to their relative importance, and partly according to their estimated relative capacity of interesting in translation the average intelligent reader of to day.

In one word, the single inspiring aim of the author has here been to furnish enlightened readers, versed only in the English language, the means of acquiring, through the medium of their vernacular, some proportioned, trustworthy, and effective knowledge and appreciation, in its chief classics, of the great literature which has been written in French... Continue reading book >>




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