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Cbautauqua Reading Circle Literature

INITIAL STUDIES

IN

AMERICAN LETTERS

BY

HENRY A. BEERS
Professor of English Literature in Yale University. Author of "Life of N.
P. Willis,'
," "The Thankless Muse," "A Suburban Pastoral

and Other Tales."

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The required books of the C. L. S. C. are recommended by a

Council of six. It must, however, be understood that
recommendation does not involve an approval by the
Council, or by any member of it, of every principle or
doctrine contained in the book recommended.

Copyright, 1895
By FLOOD & VINCENT

1

The Chautauqua-Century Press, Meadville, Pa., U.S. A.
Electrotyped, Printed, and Bound by Flood & Vincent.

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1895 "

PREFACE.

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This volume, originally published in 1887 as “An Outline Sketch of American Literature," and reissued under the present title in 1891, with an appendix consisting of selections from representative American writers, is intended as a companion to the historical sketch of English literature, entitled “From Chaucer to Tennyson,” published in 1886 (revised edition 1890), for the Chautauqua Circle. It has now (1895) been a second time revised and supplied with marginal catch-words for convenient reference. I have also added a few paragraphs to the final chapter, to bring the subject up to date. In writing it I have followed the same plan, aiming to present the subject in a sort of continuous essay rather than in the form of

“primer” or elementary manual. I have not undertaken to describe, or even to mention, every American author or book of importance, but only those which seemed to me of most significance. Nevertheless I believe that the sketch contains enough detail to make it of some use as a guide-book to our literature. Though meant to be mainly a history of American belles-lettres, it makes some mention of historical and political writings, but hardly any of philosophical, scientific, and technical works.

A chronological rather than a topical order has been fol. lowed, although the fact that our best literature is of recent growth has made it impossible to adhere as closely, to a chronological plan as in the English sketch. In the read. ing courses appended to the different chapters I have named a few of the most important authorities in American

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literary history, such as Duyckinck, Tyler, Stedman, and Richardson. My thanks are due to the authors and publishers who have kindly allowed me the use of copyrighted matter for the appendix ; especially to Mr. Park Godwin and Messrs. D. Appleton & Co. for the passages from Bryant; to Messrs. A. C. Armstrong & Son for the selections from Poe; to the Rev. E. E. Hale and Messrs. Roberts Brothers for the extract from "The Man Without a Country"; to the late Walt Whitman for his two poems; and to Mr. Clemens and the American Publishing Co. for the passage from “The Jumping Frog."

HENRY A. BEERS.

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