Select Prose of Robert Southey

Select Prose of Robert Southey

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Select Prose of Robert Southey

Select Prose of Robert Southey

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Excerpt

Some one has estimated that Southey's total production in poetry and prose would fill not far from two hundred octavo volumes. All of his writings, Southey himself had no doubt, would be reverently assembled by a grateful posterity as a fitting monument to his genius and industry. More moderate persons believed that at least a dozen volumes of good prose matter could be gathered from his abundant stock. But the passage of time has shown one possibility to be as remote as the other. It is doubtful whether anybody since Southey's death has taken the trouble even to read through all his prose. Of reprints in the last fifty years there have been, aside from the Life of Nelson, a volume of sketches of English Sea Heroes from the Naval History of England and one of selections from The Doctor. No attempt like the present has ever been made to give a representation of Southey's prose based on a survey of his entire output -- reviews and all.

In restricting this selection to a single volume the first consideration had to be its readableness. The aim has been to sustain the remark of Professor Oliver Elton that "there is room for a pleasing and varied anthology from his prose works." Only such passages have been chosen as justify themselves intrinsically. Their representative character has been a secondary consideration, but it has fortunately been possible to give specimens of Southey's prose in a considerable variety of aspects, to suggest nearly all . . .

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