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Thaddeus of Warsaw   By: (1776-1850)

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[Illustration: DR. MIDDLETON.]

THADDEUS OF WARSAW

BY

JANE PORTER

AUTHOR OF "THE SCOTTISH CHIEFS," ETC.

"Loin d'aimer la guerre, il l'abhorre; En triomphant même il déplore Les désastres qu'elle produit Et, couronné par la victoire, II gémit de sa propre gloire. Si la paix n'en est pas le fruit."

A NEW AND REVISED EDITION WITH NEW NOTES, ETC., BY THE AUTHOR

THE AUTHOR, TO HER FRIENDLY READERS.

Written for the new edition of "Thaddeus of Warsaw," forming one of the series called "The Standard Novels."

To such readers alone who, by the sympathy of a social taste, fall in with any blameless fashion of the day, and, from an amiable interest, also, in whatever may chance to afford them innocent pleasure, would fain know something more about an author whose works have brought them that gratification than the cold letter of a mere literary preface usually tells: to such readers this something of an egotistical epistle is addressed.

For, in beginning the republication of a regular series of the novels, or, as they have been more properly called, biographical romances, of which I have been the author, it has been considered desirable to make certain additions to each work, in the form of a few introductory pages and scattered notes, illustrative of the origin of the tale, of the historical events referred to in it, and of the actually living characters who constitute its personages, with some account, also, of the really local scenery described; thus giving, it is thought, a double zest to the entertainment of the reader, by bringing him into a previous acquaintance with the persons he is to meet in the book, and making him agreeably familiar with the country through which he is to travel in their company. Indeed, the social taste of the times has lately fully shown how advantageous the like conversational disclosures have proved to the recent republications of the celebrated "Waverley Novels," by the chief of novel writers; and in the new series of the admirable naval tales by the distinguished American novelist, both of whom paid to the mother country the gratifying tribute of making it their birthplace.

Such evidences in favor of an argument could not fail to persuade me to undertake the desired elucidating task; feeling, indeed, particularly pleased to adopt, in my turn, a successful example from the once Great Unknown now the not less great avowed author of the Waverley Novels, in the person of Sir Walter Scott, who did me the honor to adopt the style or class of novel of which "Thaddeus of Warsaw" was the first, a class which, uniting the personages and facts of real history or biography with a combining and illustrative machinery of the imagination, formed a new species of writing in that day, and to which Madame de Staël and others have given the appellation of "an epic in prose." The day of its appearance is now pretty far back: for "Thaddeus of Warsaw" (a tale founded on Polish heroism) and the "Scottish Chiefs" (a romance grounded on Scottish heroism) were both published in England, and translated into various languages abroad, many years before the literary wonder of Scotland gave to the world his transcendent story of Waverley, forming a most impressive historical picture of the last struggle of the papist, but gallant, branch of the Stuarts for the British throne. [Footnote: It was on the publication of these, her first two works, in the German language that the authoress was honored with being made a lady of the Chapter of St. Joachim, and received the gold cross of the order from Wirtemburg.]

"Thaddeus of Warsaw" being the first essay, in the form of such an association between fact and fancy, was published by its author with a natural apprehension of its reception by the critical part of the public. She had not, indeed, written it with any view to publication, but from an almost resistless impulse to embody the ideas and impressions with which her heart and mind were then full... Continue reading book >>




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