Medieval Story and the Beginnings of the Social Ideals of English-Speaking People

Medieval Story and the Beginnings of the Social Ideals of English-Speaking People

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Medieval Story and the Beginnings of the Social Ideals of English-Speaking People

Medieval Story and the Beginnings of the Social Ideals of English-Speaking People

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In accordance with the terms of the Hewitt Foundation, the following lectures, delivered during the months of February and March, 1911, at Cooper Union in New York City, are herewith issued in book form.

It seems desirable to remind the reader who is unfamiliar with the conditions under which the Hewitt Lectures are given that they are designed, in part at least, for a less academic audience than that usually in attendance upon lectures given under the auspices of Columbia University. In the present instance, no acquaintance with medieval literature, nor, indeed, any interest in it on the part of the audience could be taken for granted. The course was therefore designed primarily to reveal the charm of this literature, and its significance for modern times. With this end in view, such narrative poetry was selected for analysis as would best illustrate a single theme, -- the development of social ideals in the history of the English people. The successive lectures were, however, mainly devoted to discussing this early poetry as literature, in the belief that an understanding of its subject-matter, its origins, and its spirit would best lead to a comprehension of its significance as an index of social progress. It should perhaps be stated that while the general outline of each lecture was strictly adhered to in actual delivery before the audience, the manuscript was not closely followed, much of the speaking being extemporaneous.

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