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144/13.2015 6

Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1876,

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


THE TEXT-BOOK OF PROSE here offered to the public is intended as a sort of companion-volume to the Text-Book of Poetry published a few months ago. Both volumes have originated in the same experiences, and the contents of both are ordered on the same principle, namely, that of teaching English literature by authors, and not by mere literary chips and splinters. Both the method of the work and the reasons for that method are set forth with some fulness in the Preface to the former volume. I have seen no cause to recede at all from the statement there made of them; and as a repetition of them here would be something ungraceful, I must be content with referring the reader to that Preface, merely remarking withal, that the matter was no recent or sudden thing with me, but the slow result of the experience and reflection of many years. And I am moved to renew my protest, if that be the right name for it, against putting young students through a course of mere nibbles and snatches from a multitude of authors, where they cannot stay long enough with any one to develop any real taste for him, or derive any solid benefit from him.

I shall hope to be excused for observing, further, that the miscellaneous selections now so commonly in use involve one error of so gross a character, that it ought not to be left unnoticed. Those selections make a merit, apparently, of ranging over as wide a field of authorship as may be, and value themselves in proportion to the number of authors included. So their method is to treat the giants and the pigmies, the big guns and the popguns of literature on a footing of equality: nay, you shall often find the


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