English Literature from Dryden to Burns

English Literature from Dryden to Burns

English Literature from Dryden to Burns

English Literature from Dryden to Burns

Excerpt

In the study of the rich expanse of English culture from the Restoration of Charles II to the outbreak of the French Revolution a great deal has been accomplished in recent years, and the literature of the subject multiplies. It is the purpose of this manual to give the student some timely aid in the earlier stages of his acquaintance with the period by putting at his disposal something less elaborate than full-scale literary history and biography, something more highly developed than an elementary syllabus. Sketches of authors and brief sections on general topics have been provided in the hope that brevity and directness will compensate for the inevitable dogmatic tone and over-simplification. A principal danger in this plan is that under compression the minor authors may appear to be treated in a routine and colorless way; but if at first they seem to be--to use Rossetti's unsympathetic comment on Gilfillan British Poets--"the usual array of nobodies from Addison and Akenside down to Zany and Zero," it can be said with confidence that they improve on further acquaintance. The bibliographies are merely suggestive and highly selective; much valuable material has gone unrecorded here, but the brief suggestions offered are enough to guide the student to the finer and more elaborate bibliographical tools which are now at hand. And after all, an alert consciousness of current scholarship must go along with a direct and independent reading of the literature itself. To promote and guide such a reading program is the primary purpose of this book.

I am particularly indebted to Professor Albert C. Baugh for suggesting that there might be a place for a manual on this plan, and his criticism and advice while the project . . .

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