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Representative Selections from the Best Juthors,
ALSO LISTS OF
CONTEMPORANEOUS WRITERS AND THEIR PRINCIPAL WORKS.
By E. HUNT, LL.D.,
NEW YORK :
138 & 140 GRAND STREET.
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
BOSTON: ELECTROTYPED AND PRINTED BY RAND, AVERY, & FRYE.
We believe no man should make a new text-book without sufficient excuse. The object of this book is to illustrate the power and growth of the English language by representative selections from some of the most successful authors, and to introduce the student to those whose contributions to its literature are worthy his attention. It is believed, that by carefully studying and thoroughly committing to memory these selections, and other gems of thought and expression by the same authors, or others named, and of easy access, the pupil will not only make acquisitions of lifelong value, but by the daily repetition and frequent imitation of thein in his own compositions, in the class-room, and out of it, he will also form habits of expressing his own thoughts with greater force and elegance. In no branch of modern education is economy of time more important than in the study of English literature. The heterogeneous character of the language; its wonderful flexibility ; its rapid assimilation of foreign elements; its almost perfect reproduction of what is excellent in other languages, ancient and modern; the activity of the English-speaking mind in finding out all kinds of knowledge, or in appropriating it when found out by others, — all conspire to make our literature a vast storehouse of the treasures of the past, and of the infinitely-diversified products of the present. To enable the student to enter this storehouse with pleasure, to distinguish the valuable from the worthless and indifferent, to economize his intellectual forces in the acquisition of knowledge, to refine his taste, to increase his love for all that is good, beautiful, and true, are the proper aims for school-discipline in the study of English literature. To attain them, it must not be forgotten that all study is exhaustive of mental energy; that the brain works best by habit, like any other organ; and, to develop a lealthy activity of the faculties of the mind, they must not be burdened with superfluous weights. Learning the names and biographies of many authors whose complex relations with society he can not yet appreciate; committing flippant, prejudiced, or partial criticisms of them and their works, of which he knows little or