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OF

ENGLISH LITERATURE

BEING

TYPICAL SELECTIONS OF BRITISH AND AMERICAN
AUTHORSHIP, FROM SHAKESPEARE

TO THE PRESENT TIME

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, by

HARPER & BROTHERS,

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

PREFACE.

In the prescribed curricula of most high-schools, English literature and rhetoric find an important place. Yet, perhaps, no subjects are less satisfactorily taught. The study of English literature is, for the most part, confined to a cram on the personal biography of authors; at the best, it is a reading about literature rather than a reading in literature. The study of rhetoric is, for the most part, confined to the learning of abstract definitions and principles. This is an acquisition certainly not to be undervalued; for there is only a half-truth in Butler's famous aphorism, that

All a rhetorician's rules
Teach nothing but to name his tools.”

Yet assuredly it is a barren knowledge, that of the “rhetorician's rules," unless these are seen and felt as they find spontaneous embodiment in the great creations of the masters of literary art.

This volume of “ Masterpieces" is designed to occupy a place at the meeting-point of literature and rhetoricto restore the twain to their natural and fruitful relationship. On the side of literature it is intended as the ac

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