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THE PREFACE

This book is planned to furnish material for an introductory course in literary study. In a way it is intended to bridge the chasm between the series of regular reading books in the grades and the more advanced work done in high schools and academies. As a rule, the fifth reader does not contain enough material for the two final years of the grammar grades, and frequently what it does contain is somewhat fragmentary.

An effort has been made to bring together a group of selections by standard writers of modern times which shall be representative of the best that has been produced, and at the same time. interesting to the young student. Experience has shown conclusively that most of the great masterpieces are, at least in some phases of their study, interesting even to children. If passages here and there are not understood, it still remains true that a child will carry away more valuable impressions from the reading of a book like Ivanhoe or a poem like Sohrab and Rustum than from a dozen books "written down" to his supposed mental condition.

The selections in every case have been given in their entirety. In the case of Scott it has been necessary to give ballads which form parts of longer productions, but these are literary units in themselves and form only apparent exceptions to the rule. Unfortunately Scott's poetical masterpieces are too long to be included in a book of this kind, but it is greatly to be desired that young people should early become acquainted with The Lady of the Lake, Marmion, and The Lay of the Last Minstrel.

Accuracy of text has been aimed at, and, except in case of obvious error, no liberties have been taken with the author's language or punctuation. Very often. the version of a poem given in the reader is the only one

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the pupil ever sees, and it is of importance that he have the real poem and not some mangled copy of it.

In the biographical sketches only a simple outline of the writer's life is attempted. Anything like a full understanding of an author's personality must come from a full study of his writings and a complete knowledge of his life. But these brief sketches may serve the purpose of fixing a few of the established facts or commonly accepted opinions about the author.

The notes on each selection fall under three heads: Those that give briefly the facts regarding its composition, those that explain allusions of various kinds or passages that may not be easily understood by the beginner, and those that suggest plans of study or lines of investigation.

I have had the excellent advice of Miss Rose M. Cox, assistant in the Department of Literature in the Indiana State Normal School, in determining the selections and writers to be included. In the collection and verification of most of the material used in the sketches and notes I am under very special obligations to Miss Nellie Head, instructor in English in the Brazil High School. Acknowledgment is also made to the Bobbs-Merrill Company for permission to use James Whitcomb Riley's A Life-Lesson, to D. Appleton & Co. for William Cullen Bryant's Sella, to the Whitaker & Ray Company for Joaquin Miller's Columbus, to Harper & Brothers for George William Curtis' Ebb and Flow.

Terre Haute, Ind., August 1, 1903.

C. M. C.

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