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Prof. BENJ. N. MARTIN, D.D., L.H.D.,
PROFESSOR IN THE UNIVERSITY OF THE
CITY OF NEW YORK.
SHELDON AND COMPANY,
BY SHELDON AND COMPANY,
COLLEGE AND SCHOOL TEXT BOOKS.
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Electrotyped at the Boston Stereotype Foundry, 19 Spring Lane.
WHEN I first learned how short must be the extracts, by which alone I could represent, within the narrow limits assigned me, any great body of our American writers, it was a matter of serious regret to me. I shall not, therefore, be surprised if the same discovery shall affect my readers with a similar emotion.
I remembered, however, that I had undertaken to furnish only “ specimens ; ” that these need not occupy a large space; and that an extract of half a page in length will often show, not unsatisfactorily, the felicity of a writer's style, the vigor of his thought, or the fire of his imagination. I shall be gratified if the “sober second thought” of my readers shall, in like manner, confirm my own.
I had hoped to find this work principally done to my hand, in pteceding manuals; but a careful examination showed them to be unsatisfactory, if not obsolete. The last twenty years have made great changes in American authorship : many new names must now be added to the earlier lists, and many familiar ones should be dropped from them. The work had, therefore, to be executed anew. Hence, these brief extracts have, for the most part, been derived with assiduous care, directly from the collected works, of our standard authors. This part of my labor has been greatly facilitated by the courtesy of the gentlemen connected with the Society, the Mercantile, and especially the Astor, Library, - whose constant kindness I gratefully acknowledge.
In adapting the selections to Mr. Tuckerman's interesting “Sketch of American Literature,” specimens have generally been taken from several authors in each of his groups. Some names not found in the