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The substance of the following work was delivered in the form of lectures to students, and it is for the use of students that it is principally intended. At the same time I trust that it may prove not uninteresting to the general reader. While conceding the praise which is justly their due to existing compilations — to the works of Craik and Spalding, and the epitome published by Chambers, may say without offence that the point of view taken in them lies too far north, and that. Scottish authors receive a little more than relative justice from these Scottish critics. To profound research the present work makes no pretension: in this respect I cheerfully acknowledge the immeasurable superiority of the really learned work of Professor Craik; but if I have succeeded in presenting an intelligible and connected view of at least the more popular portion of our literature, as it appears to an ordinary Englishman who has paid attention to the subject, my book will, I think, fill a vacant niche, and my endeavours will not be without a certain value, whether at home or in foreign countries.
Desiring, if possible, that the work should be widely useful as an educational manual, I have thought it a duty to adapt it for general circulation, by avoiding, as far as was practicable, debatable topics, and carefully respecting religious susceptibilities.
The arrangement of the subject-matter according to two distinct principles — that of the order of time and that of the order of thought -- is a novel one: whether it be also sound, let the critics decide. I will only say that in my lectures I have followed this plan, and that it has appeared to be successful, and to engage the attention of the hearers better than an unbroken adherence either to the historical or the critical mode of treatment.
PROSE WRITERS:-Fortescue, Caxton, Leland, More; Chroniclers (Fabyan,
Historical Sketch, general characteristics.-POETRY FROM 1700 to 1745:
Pope: Sketch of his literary Life; Addison; Parnell; Swift; Thomson ;
POETRY; 1. Romances, Sir Isumbras ; 2. Tales, Chaucer and the Canter-