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

Choice Specimens of American Literature, and Literary Reader Being Selections from the Chief American Writers   By:

Book cover

First Page:

CHOICE SPECIMENS

OF

AMERICAN LITERATURE,

AND

LITERARY READER,

BEING SELECTIONS FROM THE CHIEF AMERICAN WRITERS,

BY

PROF. BENJ. N. MARTIN, D.D., L.H.D., PROFESSOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK. 1874

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

The former edition of this work was prepared simply as a supplement to Shaw's "Choice Specimens of English Literature." Though it extended to a larger size than had been anticipated, and was therefore issued in a separate volume, it still proved so straitened in point of space as to be in some important respects defective and inadequate. The decision of the publishers to reprint it in an enlarged form furnishes to the editor a welcome opportunity to correct its deficiencies, and to make several important emendations.

When the work of collecting suitable extracts from the great body of our literature was fairly entered upon, it soon became apparent that little aid could be had from the earlier manuals. Besides being in great measure obsolete, they were from the beginning disproportionate, and geographically too local in subject and spirit; both of which may be deemed grave defects.

The last twenty years have made great changes in American authorship. Many new names must now be added to the older lists, and many formerly familiar ones must be dropped from them. Hence these extracts have for the most part been derived, with assiduous care, directly from the collected works of our standard authors. This part of my labor has been greatly facilitated by the courtesy of the gentlemen connected with the Society, the Mercantile, and the Astor, Library, whose constant kindness I gratefully acknowledge.

The principal alterations which will be found in this edition are the following.

1. The extracts, formerly, of necessity, brief and fragmentary, have given place to more extended and coherent passages.

2. A much larger space has been allotted to the more eminent authors. Such writers as Franklin, Jefferson, Calhoun, Webster, Wirt, Irving, Cooper, Hawthorne, Channing, Beecher, Prescott, Motley, Shea, Bryant, Poe, Emerson, and Lowell, have been much more adequately exhibited.

3. Many later writers have been added, so that the work more fully represents the rapid development of literary effort among us.

4. A few writers, formerly included, have been dropped from the list, not always as less deserving a place, but sometimes as having less adaptation to the purposes of the book.

Much care has been bestowed upon the dates of the several authors, and in bringing up details of information to the latest period. The same pains have been taken to furnish a just representation of the writers, too often overlooked in our manuals, of the Southern and Western portions of our country. Though often wanting in mere grace of style, they are apt to be original and vigorous; and often possessing valuable material, they are well worthy of perusal. In all these respects this collection has been carefully elaborated; and the editor hopes that it will be found to give a somewhat proportionate and complete view for its compass, of our best literature.

In adapting the selections to Mr. Tuckerman's interesting "Sketch of American Literature," specimens have generally been taken from several authors in each of his groups. Some names not found in his "Sketch," have been introduced, chiefly for the fuller illustration of the literature of the south and west. In this particular, Coggeshall's "Poets and Poetry of the West" has afforded great assistance. Among the more recent aids of the same kind, I must also mention Davidson's "Living Writers of the South," and Raymond's "Southland Writers." Especial acknowledgment is due to the "Cyclopedia" of the Messrs. Duyckinck; Appleton's "Annual Cyclopedia" has furnished many important dates; and I have occasionally been indebted to the works of Allibone, Cheever, Griswold, Cleveland, Hart, and Underwood. Not only the local literature however, but the several professions, and the great religious denominations, are also represented by prominent writers... 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