Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Outlines of English and American Literature : an Introduction to the Chief Writers of England and America, to the Books They Wrote, and to the Times in Which They Lived   By: (1867-1952)

Book cover

First Page:

OUTLINES OF ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LITERATURE

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CHIEF WRITERS OF ENGLAND AND AMERICA, TO THE BOOKS THEY WROTE, AND TO THE TIMES IN WHICH THEY LIVED

BY

WILLIAM J. LONG

This is the wey to al good aventure. CHAUCER

TO MY SISTER "MILLIE" IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE OF A LIFELONG SYMPATHY

[Illustration: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

After the Chandos Portrait in the National Portrait Gallery, London, which is attributed to Richard Burbage or John Taylor. In the catalogue of the National Portrait Gallery the following description is given:

"The Chandos Shakespeare was the property of John Taylor, the player, by whom or by Richard Burbage it was painted. The picture was left by the former in his will to Sir William Davenant. After his death it was bought by Betterton, the actor, upon whose decease Mr. Keck of the Temple purchased it for 40 guineas, from whom it was inherited by Mr. Nicoll of Michenden House, Southgate, Middlesex, whose only daughter married James, Marquess of Caernarvon, afterwards Duke of Chandos, father to Ann Eliza, Duchess of Buckingham."

The above is written on paper attached to the back of the canvas. Its authenticity, however, has been doubted in some quarters.

Purchased at the Stowe Sale, September 1848, by the Earl of Ellesmere, and presented by him to the nation, March 1856.

Dimensions: 22 in. by 16 3/4 in.

This reproduction of the portrait was made from a miniature copy on ivory by Caroline King Phillips.]

PREFACE

The last thing we find in making a book is to know what to put first. Pascal

When an author has finished his history, after months or years of happy work, there comes a dismal hour when he must explain its purpose and apologize for its shortcomings.

The explanation in this case is very simple and goes back to a personal experience. When the author first studied the history of our literature there was put into his hands as a textbook a most dreary catalogue of dead authors, dead masterpieces, dead criticisms, dead ages; and a boy who knew chiefly that he was alive was supposed to become interested in this literary sepulchre or else have it said that there was something hopeless about him. Later he learned that the great writers of England and America were concerned with life alone, as the most familiar, the most mysterious, the most fascinating thing in the world, and that the only valuable or interesting feature of any work of literature is its vitality.

To introduce these writers not as dead worthies but as companionable men and women, and to present their living subject as a living thing, winsome as a smile on a human face, such was the author's purpose in writing this book.

The apology is harder to frame, as anyone knows who has attempted to gather the writers of a thousand years into a single volume that shall have the three virtues of brevity, readableness and accuracy. That this record is brief in view of the immensity of the subject is plainly apparent. That it may prove pleasantly readable is a hope inspired chiefly by the fact that it was a pleasure to write it, and that pleasure is contagious. As for accuracy, every historian who fears God or regards man strives hard enough for that virtue; but after all his striving, remembering the difficulty of criticism and the perversity of names and dates that tend to error as the sparks fly upward, he must still trust heaven and send forth his work with something of Chaucer's feeling when he wrote:

O littel book√ę, thou art so unconning, How darst thou put thy self in prees for drede?

Which may mean, to one who appreciates Chaucer's wisdom and humor, that having written a little book in what seemed to him an unskilled or "unconning" way, he hesitated to give it to the world for dread of the "prees" or crowd of critics who, even in that early day, were wont to look upon each new book as a camel that must be put through the needle's eye of their tender mercies... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books