Author of Natural Method in English, Guide to Correct Language,
Familiar Talks on Language, Chart on Punc-
tuation, From Nature's Book, etc.


Entered according to Act of Congress in the Year 1897, by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.





THIS book differs from most of its kind, both in plan and purpose. It comprises a history of literature, and also special studies by means of selections, with questions and remarks. Part First is a historical outline, with only occasional short selections. Part Second is made up of selections, arranged by subjects, without special reference to chronological order.

The questions and remarks are placed at the end of each Part, instead of being put at the end of each chapter, or at the close of the section to which they refer. It is hoped that these questions will aid materially in analyzing the thought, and that they will prove a decided help both in learning and in teaching the lessons.

In the historical portion, the effort has been to represent every period by the best it produced. For this purpose it has not been thought necessary to call attention to a great number of writers, but only to such as gave tone and character to the literature of their time.

In making selections for such study, regard has been had to their influence upon mind and character, as well as to their literary merits. Selections have not been made from the Bible - the best of all literature for the reason that it is in everybody's possession, and can be drawn from at will. So, also, only short extracts have been taken from many other excellent and well-known works. But enough is given in this book to cultivate a taste for true

literature, if the work


is faithfully done according to the plan indicated; after that the field may be broadened by private study or by further selections.

The importance of studying our best literature can scarcely be overestimated. Language, like other fine arts, is more effectually acquired through example than by technical instruction alone. Models are as essential in composition as they are in painting or in sculpture. be no conscious copying, nor any attempt at imitation; but when approached earnestly and lovingly, there is an inspiration in the productions of genius: they rouse our latent energies, and quicken our moral and intellectual perceptions.

There should

This volume is not so much a study of authors as of their writings. It is intended as a study of literature rather than of literary people, and is based upon the conviction that a constant association with noble thoughts and pure expression will improve both mind and speech if it can be done by any means at our command. G. H. BELL.

Battle Creek, Mich.,

June 14, 1898.


THE author does not presume to prescribe methods that the teacher is bound to follow, but wishes to make a few friendly suggestions.

The first thing to be considered is the primary object for which the study is to be pursued. It is pleasant to know who wrote this or that book, and to know the history and peculiarities of noted authors; but all this does not necessarily ennoble one's character, discipline his mind to more vigorous thinking, or materially improve his language. is not studying literature, but simply its history.


The real study of literature is the becoming acquainted with such writings as are by their intrinsic worth valuable to all people in all times. Such is the Bible; and such are all writings whose tendency is to call into healthy action the nobler attributes of our nature, thus contributing to the building up of a beautiful and symmetrical manhood.

But to become fully acquainted with such writings is to drink in of their spirit,— to be stirred by the motives and emotions that prompted them. Here is where the help of the teacher is most needed. Reading aloud with the class is one of the best things a teacher can do. His enthusiasm, his appreciation, his sympathy with the thoughts and motives of the author, will be contagious.

It is thought that the questions, remarks, and analyses appended to each Part of the book will promote a thorough study of the text, and teachers are strongly advised to use them, at least so far as they are adapted to the condition of the pupils. The exercises therein required are specimens of

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