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During the last three years the author has written a series of articles on the study of the English Classics, for the NATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATION. The unexpected favor with which they were received by the readers of this paper, together with the fact that the method which we have advocated has been, wholly or in part, adopted in numerous schools, has encouraged the author to revise and rearrange these articles, and publish them in a permanent form. An Introduction on teaching English Literature has been added, together with much additional material, all of which, it is to be hoped, will in a measure supply a need long felt in this branch of study.

This little book is especially designed as a practical manual for young and inexperienced teachers and students of our literature, to be used in connection with the study of the texts of various standard authors.

There are several ways in which this book may be used to advantage :

1. Simply as a book of reference.

II. As a text-book to be used in connection with a manual and book of selections, as with Gilman, Shaw, and Brooke, for manuals, and with Cleveland, Hunt, and Underwood for selections.

III. The entire course may be based upon this book, taking up in detail the “Introduction,” illustrating every point by selections and examples from the school reading-books, or works from the public or school library, and filling in orally whatever may be necessary. For instance, let the “Norman Baron” (Chapter III.) be followed by some half a dozen prose and poetical selections to be studied in the same way. After a systematic method of studying the English texts has been acquired, the “Representative Authors” may be taken up in the order and manner which is suggested in the succeeding chapters. The teacher should depend for texts upon the many cheap paper editions, upon readingbooks, and works from the household, school, or public library. Without much trouble, every member of the class could be supplied with texts for Thanatopsis, Deserted Village, Cotter's Saturday Night, Lady of the Lake, Julius Cæsar, etc. Of course schools in the larger towns and cities, amply provided with libraries and facilities for getting books, would have the advantage over schools in the smaller villages; yet, from our own experience, we are convinced that even in our small towns the teacher, by using a little tact and ingenuity, will be enabled to find all the material which may be necessary to carry out in detail this or a similar plan of study. This method will certainly require much time and patient effort on the part of the teacher, but the satisfactory results obtained will more than repay him for the extra labor.

The succeeding pages are the result of several years' experience in teaching English Literature in our public schools. It has been our aim to be concise and practical; to make every point plain, by using a somewhat simple and homely style of writing ; in short, to provide a working hand-book which may be of every-day service to the student of literature, and afford him a pleasant and useful guide to more extended studies.

Valuable help has been obtained from various sources, and due credit is given in the proper place.


PROVINCETOWN, MASS., August, 1878.

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