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Stories of Authors, British and American   By: (1865-1959)

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Transcriber's Note: Inconsistent hyphenation in the original document has been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. For a complete list, please see the end of this document.

[Illustration: GEOFFREY CHAUCER From a portrait in Occleve's Poems in the British Museum]

Stories of Authors

British and American

BY EDWIN WATTS CHUBB Professor of English Literature in the Ohio University.



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Set up and electrotyped. Published February, 1910

Reprinted May, 1910


The purpose of this book is to help in making literature and the makers of literature alive and interesting. Few schools have libraries including the bound volumes of the magazines of the past quarter of a century. But what an aid such a collection is to the appreciation of literature! The dignified and abbreviated history of literature cannot indulge in such delightful gossip as is found in the freer essay and fuller biography. To show the excellences of the art and the lovableness of the artist rather than to hunt for defects is the duty and the delight of the teacher of literature. This does not mean, however, that one dare never see the weaker side, the foibles and eccentricities of the man of genius.

I like Macaulay none the less because his cock sureness and loquacity came dangerously near to making him a bore; Dr. Johnson grows in interest when I learn that he found it a continual and almost hopeless struggle to become an early riser, that he feared death, and could drink tea as long as the housekeeper could brew it; that Tennyson was a slave to tobacco and acted like a yokel when the newly wedded Müllers entertained him at breakfast does not detract from my enjoyment of the exquisite pathos of Tears, Idle Tears ; that the marriage of the Brownings was a runaway romance is a whole commentary of explanation when I read their poems of romantic love; that Longfellow is said to have declined an invitation to the Adirondacks because he was told that Emerson was to carry a gun is really far more delightful, and I may add valuable, information than to know the exact date of the birth of either. Of knowledge such as this is the kingdom of literary interest. It is not well to place our literary lights upon a pedestal so lofty that the radiating warmth and light never reach our hearts.

While many of the articles may be somewhat gossipy in tone, the serious phase has not been overlooked. The sketches have been gathered from many sources. Some have been written by myself, others have been gathered from magazines and books. I wish to acknowledge the kindness of Scribners' Magazine , of the Bookman , and of the New England Magazine in permitting me to use articles originally appearing in these respective magazines. To all who have wittingly or unwittingly made it possible for me to gather my material I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness. Every article has been written, selected, or adapted because of some special value. In these pages the reader may find what Lamb earned during the years of his famous clerkship, or the exciting details of Shelley's death. How many times have we heard of Sir Philip Sidney's immortal act of chivalry as he lay on the field at Zutphen! But definite information has it otherwise... Continue reading book >>

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