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French Classics   By: (1833-1920)

French Classics by William Cleaver Wilkinson

First Page:

Transcriber's note:

The following typographical errors have been corrected:

Page 23: "The people that is, the promiscuous mass of mankind hardly exist to Froissart." 'promiscuous' amended from 'promiscous'.

Page 178: "Gil Blas, discouraged, was about to leave Dr. Sangrado's service, when that distinguished physician said to him we take up the text of the story once more:" 'Blas' amended from 'Glas'.

Page 189: "When the Christian religion, two centuries ago, became unhappily divided into Catholic and Protestant, the people of the north embraced the Protestant, and those south adhered still to the Catholic." 'unhappily' amended from 'unhappilly'.

Page 238: "His European reputation in science made his name a tower of strength to the 'Encyclopædia,' even after he ceased to be an editorial coadjutor in the enterprise." 'editorial' amended from 'editoral'.

Page 295: "Dickens's Pegasus often flies with his bit between his teeth. 'between' amended from 'beween'.

OTHER BOOKS BY PROFESSOR WILKINSON

THE EPIC OF SAUL

THE EPIC OF PAUL

WEBSTER: AN ODE. WITH NOTES

POEMS

A FREE LANCE IN THE FIELD OF LIFE AND LETTERS (Volume of Essays)

EDWIN ARNOLD AS POETIZER AND AS PAGANIZER

THE DANCE OF MODERN SOCIETY

FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY NEW YORK AND LONDON

WILKINSON'S FOREIGN CLASSICS IN ENGLISH

FRENCH CLASSICS

BY

WILLIAM CLEAVER WILKINSON

PROFESSOR OF POETRY AND CRITICISM IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY NEW YORK AND LONDON 1909

COPYRIGHT 1900

BY

WILLIAM CLEAVER WILKINSON.

( Printed in the United States of America )

PREFACE.

The preparation of the present volume proposed to the author a task more difficult far than that undertaken in the case of either of the literatures, the Greek or the Latin, treated in the four preceding volumes of the present series. 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 plan of this volume, together with the compass proposed for it, created the necessity of establishing from the outset certain limits to be very strictly observed. There could be no introductory general matter, beyond a rapid and summary review of that literature, as a whole, which is the subject of the book. The list of authors selected for representation must not include the names of any still living. A third thing resolved upon was to make the number of representative names 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... Continue reading book >>




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