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Essays in Literature and History   By: (1818-1894)

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Essays in Literature and History by James Anthony Froude offers an intriguing collection of writings that delve into various literary and historical subjects. Froude, known for his unconventional viewpoints, presents a diverse range of essays that captivate readers with their depth of analysis and thought-provoking perspectives.

One of the most notable aspects of Froude's essays is his ability to intertwine literature and history seamlessly. The author demonstrates a profound understanding of both disciplines, skillfully integrating literature as a reflection, and sometimes critique, of historical events. This approach offers readers a unique lens through which they can explore and appreciate the interconnectedness of these two spheres.

Throughout the book, Froude presents a wide array of topics, exploring both well-known and lesser-known literary figures. From Shakespeare to Walter Scott, from Jane Austen to Charlotte Brontë, he delves into the works of these masters with enthusiasm and an acute attention to detail. Froude's analyses of their writings shed light on not only the literary themes but also the historical context in which they were created.

Moreover, Froude possesses a distinctive writing style that is both eloquent and accessible. He effortlessly combines scholarly rigor with a conversational tone, making the essays engaging to both academic readers and general enthusiasts. His prose is accessible enough for casual readers to enjoy, while still providing enough depth to satisfy those with a more academic inclination.

One of the book's standout essays is Froude's exploration of the medieval period and its influence on literature. He adeptly examines the historical events and societal changes that shaped this era while highlighting the works of Chaucer, Malory, and other prominent writers. Froude's analysis offers a fresh perspective on these classics, breathing new life into their familiar narratives.

While the book largely succeeds in its intentions, there are a few moments where Froude's arguments may seem somewhat controversial or biased. The author occasionally allows his personal opinions to overshadow an objective analysis, which may deter some readers seeking a more balanced viewpoint. Nonetheless, these instances do not overshadow the overall strength and value of the essays within.

In conclusion, Essays in Literature and History by James Anthony Froude is a captivating collection that seamlessly intertwines literature and history. Froude's insightful analysis and unique perspective make for a thought-provoking read that will appeal to both literary and historical enthusiasts. Despite some minor biases, the book serves as a valuable resource and a testament to Froude's mastery of these intertwined disciplines.

First Page:

Essays on History and Literature

By James Anthony Froude

London: J. M. Dent & Co., 1906


Arnold's Poems (Westminster Review, 1854)

Words about Oxford (Fraser's Magazine, 1850)

England's Forgotten Worthies (Westminster Review, 1852)

The Book of Job (Westminster Review, 1853)

The Lives of the Saints (Eclectic Review, 1852)

The Dissolution of the Monasteries (Fraser's Magazine, 1857)

The Philosophy of Christianity (The Leader, 1851)

A Plea for the Free Discussion of Theological Difficulties (Fraser's Magazine, 1863)

Spinoza (Westminster Review, 1855)

Reynard the Fox (Fraser's Magazine, 1852)

The Commonplace Book of Richard Hilles (Fraser's Magazine, 1858)


Froude had this merit a merit he shared with Huxley alone of His contemporaries that he imposed his convictions. He fought against resistance. He excited (and still excites) a violent animosity. He exasperated the surface of his time and was yet too strong for that surface to reject him. This combative and aggressive quality in him, which was successful in that it was permanent and never suffered a final defeat should arrest any one who may make a general survey of the last generation in letters.

It was a period with a vice of its own which yet remains to be detected and chastised... Continue reading book >>

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