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pre-eminently distinguished the nineteenth century. It would be easy to cnlarge upon this point if space permitted; but a little reflection will convince the intelligent reader that the literature of a nation is its true history it is spontaneous and unprejudiced, while formal historical narratives are invariably colored by prejudice, personal, political, or theological. If Hume's and Macaulay's and Froude's Histories were suddenly destroyed, the surviving general literature of England would afford ample materials for their reconstruction.
American Literature has a liberal representation in THE LITERARY READER, which presents one feature that may be said to be unique; that is, its recognition of distinctively scientific writers as contributors to letters. In its early days science was dry and almost repellent to all save its favored students; but its modern exponents have not failed to see the importance of introducing it in an attractive guise, and the writings of Agassiz, Tyndall, Gray, Dana, Maury, Huxley, and others abound in passages of marked beauty even when judged according to the standards of pure literature. This feature of the work seems to mark not only a due acknowledgment of the growing love for scientific study in this country, but also a welcome addition to the treasures of literature.
While this work is primarily intended for the use of schools, as a textbook by the use of which the learner may acquire, simultaneously, proficiency in reading, and no inconsiderable familiarity with what may be called the headlands of English literature, it will, it is believed, also be found serviceable by the general reader. One who desires to acquaint himself with the best literary products of the Anglo-Saxon intellect will find in these pages a convenient and agreeable introduction to them. Indeed, the book may fitly be described as a collection of samples which set forth the peculiar qualities of the chief literary fabrics of England and America, made during nearly three hundred years.
The compiler acknowledges, with pleasure, his obligations to Messrs. James R. Osgood & Co., Messrs. G. P. Putnam's Sons, Messrs. D. Appleton & Co., and others, for their courtesy in permitting the use of selections from their copyright editions of American writers.
G. R. C.