An Introduction to the Study of American Literature

American Book Company, 1896 - 256 pages
"This book is intended as an introduction to the study of American literature. Although the chapters on the separate authors are wholly distinct, they have been so planned that each of them prepares the way for its successor, and that all of them together outline the changing circumstances under which American literature has developed. An attempt has been made to show how each of the chief American authors influenced his time, and how he in turn was influenced by it; and also to indicate how each of them was related to the others, both personally and artistically. Bearing in mind the fact that the student needs to have his attention centered on vital points, all dates and all proper names, and all the titles of books not absolutely essential, have been rigorously omitted. Interest has thus been concentrated on the literary career of each of the greater writers and on their practice of the literary art, in the hope and expectation that the student will be encouraged and stimulated to read their works for his own pleasure. After the consideration of these more important authors, one by one, the writers of less consequence have been discussed briefly in a single chapter; and in like manner a single chapter only has been devoted to a summary consideration of the condition of our literature at the end of the nineteenth century. To arouse the student's interest in the authors as actual men, the illustrations chosen have been confined to portraits and views, and to facsimiles of manuscripts. To enable him to see for himself the successive stages of the growth of American literature, and to let him discover how the authors sometimes came one after another and sometimes worked side by side, there has been appended also a chronological table of the chief dates in our literary history. As mere text-book instruction can never be an adequate substitute for the student's own acquaintance with the actual works of the authors discussed, there have been annexed to every chapter bibliographical notes calling attention to the editions most suitable for the student's reading, and also to the best biographies and to a few of the most suggestive criticisms."--From the Prefatory Note.

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Page 169 - Ay, tear her tattered ensign down ! Long has it waved on high, And many an eye has danced to see That banner in the sky; Beneath it rung the battle shout, And burst the cannon's roar; — The meteor of the ocean air Shall sweep the clouds no more. Her deck, once red with heroes...
Page 100 - By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April's breeze unfurled, Here once the embattled farmers stood, And fired the shot heard round the world. The foe long since in silence slept; Alike the conqueror silent sleeps; And Time the ruined bridge has swept Down the dark stream which seaward creeps. On this green bank, by this soft stream, We set to-day a votive stone; That memory may their deed redeem, When...
Page 186 - I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Page 26 - Calendar with, proverbial sentences, chiefly such as inculcated industry and frugality, as the means of procuring wealth, and thereby securing virtue ; it being more difficult for a man in want to act always honestly, as, to use here one of those proverbs, it is hard for an empty sack to stand upright.
Page 178 - Boston State-House is the hub of the solar system. You couldn't pry that out of a Boston man, if you had the tire of all creation straightened out for a crowbar.
Page 85 - Flag of the free heart's hope and home, By angel hands to valor given ! Thy stars have lit the welkin dome, And all thy hues were born in heaven. Forever float that standard sheet ! Where breathes the foe but falls before us, With Freedom's soil beneath our feet, And Freedom's banner streaming o'er us ? JOSEPH RODMAN DRAKE.
Page 79 - Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again; The eternal years of God are hers; But Error, wounded, writhes in pain, And dies among his worshippers.
Page 88 - Green be the turf above thee, Friend of my better days ! None knew thee but to love thee, Nor named thee but to praise.
Page 22 - American representatives, — the treaty of alliance with France; the treaty of peace with England...
Page 48 - For my part, I consider a story merely as a frame on which to stretch my materials. It is the play of thought, and sentiment, and language; the weaving in of characters, lightly, yet expressively delineated; the familiar and faithful exhibition of scenes in common life; and the half-concealed vein of humor that is often playing through the whole, — these are among what I aim at, and upon which I felicitate myself in proportion as I think I succeed.

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