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The chapters present a goodly store of reliable information concerning the various essayists and illuminating bits of comment upon their respective productions, but all of this is kept carefully subordinate to the main purpose-of inspiring in the student an efficient desire to explore for himself the rich field of the classic English essay. In the accomplishment of that purpose this treatment of the essay should prove to be for the student a delightful invitation and introduction to a most delightful literary world.

The essay literature has not received in the English program of most colleges either the kind or the amount of attention it deserves, with the result that this species of literature is in comparison to some other species a practically unknown realm. Fiction, poetry, and the drama have received much more justice. Right education will no doubt continue unto the end of time to involve a tangle of problems, and the teaching of English is not the least of them, but there can be no doubt that one of the most proper purposes of the English course in the college is to develop in the student some appreciation of the literary art and, to whatever degree may be possible, the student's own lịterary ability. How might this development be effected better or more surely than by introducing the student directly to such masters of the literary essay as Bacon, Addison, Steele, Lamb, De Quincey, and Stevenson? It is just this introduction that the present volume means to give. It is anticipated that the mere introduction will be sufficient, that being introduced the student will of his own accord make further acquaintance in this genial company of masters, of

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most profitably delightful minds and hearts that have expressed themselves to the world. Such association should surely beget in the student something of the literary sense, a sense which for the manifold purposes of life is as invaluable as it is rare.

The intelligent teacher of English who uses this book for class purposes will naturally want to make use of it in his own personal way. It may, however, be suggested that if the use of the text by students is made a sheer task for them, it will fail entirely of that best effect for which it is intended. There is no gainsaying the fact that well-nigh the total of the teaching in the schools is, of more or less necessity, a persevering persecution of the students through all the youthful years of their minority. Happily there is in the nature of the subject at least no reason whatever why the class in literature should not be a real relief from the academic grind involved in other subjects. If the essay especially be approached in the manner and in the mood so well illustrated in this book, the study should be for both students and teacher a pure delight, all the more profitable in being the exception to the rule, which is otherwise likely to have no exception.

I have no doubt that "The Literary Essay in English here offered to the schools will justify itself to the satisfaction of any teacher of English who will use it in a

rational way.




The author wishes to acknowledge her indebtedness to Father Carrico and Mr. George Shuster of Notre Dame University for their helpful criticism of the manner and the matter of this book, and to Mr. Thomas B. Lawler, the historian, for his invaluable assistance in securing original editions of the older authors discussed and quoted in this treatment of the literary essay in English.

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