James Thomson

James Thomson

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James Thomson

James Thomson

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Excerpt

In this book an attempt is made to present the subject as a chapter of the history of English Literature, and to bring out the part played by Thomson in the development of the poetry of the eighteenth century. Partly with a view to this, a distinct line has been drawn between biography and literary criticism, though the relation between the life and the writings has not been ignored.

For the biography of Thomson fairly good materials are available, thanks to the labours of a series of investigators devoted to the memory of the poet. The present writer gladly acknowledges obligation to those by whom these materials have been contributed or elucidated. After the first biographers, Shiels, Murdoch and Johnson, we are indebted in the eighteenth century especially to the eleventh Earl of Buchan, by whose enthusiasm many memorials were preserved, which would otherwise have perished, and in the first half of the nineteenth century to Harris Nicolas, Bolton Corney and Peter Cunningham. In more recent times useful work has been done especially by M. Léon Morel, whose book on Thomson is a monument of praiseworthy industry, by Mr. Tovey, as editor of the new Aldine edition of Thomson, by Mr. Seccombe in the Dictionary of National Biography, and by Dr. Birkbeck Hill in his notes on Johnson Lives of the Poets. The present writer has contributed . . .

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