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We wish to here make fitting acknowledgment of the kindness and encouragement of the various publishers who have kindly allowed the use of selections from their authorized works.
The selections from the writings of John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Alice and Phoebe Cary, and Lucy Larcom are used by permission of and by special arrangement with Houghton, Mifflin & Co., the authorized publishers of the writings of these authors.
The selections from Bryant are used by permission of and by special arrangement with D. Appleton & Co., and the other copyrighted selections by the kind permission of Harper & Brothers, Little, Brown & Co., The Bobbs-Merrill Co., The Whitaker & Ray Co., The J. B. Lippincott Co. and Herbert Stone & Co., to all of whom the author desires to express grateful appreciation of their kindness and courtesy.
The teacher who fails to give a large share of time and attention to the careful memorizing, the study, and the enjoyment of fine things in literature is woefully at fault. The boy or girl who has been at school for six or eight years should go out into life with a wealth of good things in literature securely lodged in the memory, that shall mould his taste, give color to his thought, and influence his daily life.
-J. P. McCaskey.
This book of Studies in American and British Litera
ture has been carefully prepared with the hope that it may aid teachers in giving color as well as form to their work in literature, and that it may help to mould and lodge exquisite bits of literature in the memory of the pupil that will cheer and brighten all his life. The principal aim has been to present a logical plan which will enable the pupil to appreciate all that is good in literature, to assist him to express himself clearly and intelligently, and, best of all, to give him abundant food for thought. “The man who loves good reading has in his own being a spring of never failing joy; there are no lonely hours, no monotonous days for such a person. Raging storms and snow-bound earth may shut out: living companionship, but these circumstances only serve to bring him into nearer communion with the authors he loves."
All selections from the works of the various authors have been carefully taken, and great care has been exercised to make all information authentic. There is much
in the directions for the study of the various selections that may justly be termed work in English, and, where the school course is crowded, this work in Literature may well occupy a considerable part of the time usually given to Grammar and Rhetoric. Remember pupils do not learn to construct good sentences by analyzing, or by memorizing and repeating the rules of syntax, though the method be followed until they grow gray. Many of our best writers never studied the art of composition; but they read a multitude of the best books, and had the faculty of learning how to compose by studying the composition of others while they, at the same time, cultivated their taste and added to their general stock of information.
This book is, therefore, sent forth with the conviction that its suggestions will receive a hearty welcome, and that the choice thoughts from the best writers which have been generously scattered throughout its pages, will surprise, delight and bless like rare wild flowers cropping up in unlooked for places.
INEZ X. M'FEE.
HINTS TO TEACHERS.
I need not tell you that you will find that most books worth reading once are worth reading twice; and, what is most important of all, the masterpieces of literature are worth reading a thousand times. It is a great mistake to think that because you have read a masterpiece once or twice, or ten times, therefore you are done with it; because it is a masterpiece, you ought to live with it, and make it a part of your daily life.
-John Morley. Your, great object should be to be thorough; to learn but a little at a time, but to learn that little well. A very short poem, thoroughly comprehended in all its parts, will do to make a beginning upon. Any lesson of this sort that is really well learnt is a piece of solid work done; it serves for a stepping-stone to the next piece.
-W. W. Skeat. HE STUDY of Literature more than all other studies
best equips our pupils for successful living. “It is well that the pupils learn square and cube root, but such knowledge will never bring to the soul the yearning for higher, holier living aroused by the reading of the Chambered Nautilus. Newton's laws of gravitation may teach us of the unseen force that binds together molecules, but such productions as the Vision of Sir Launfal alone can set us a-searching for the silken chain that tells of the universal brotherhood of man. With Cuvier we may learn how to classify and arrange all animate life, but such poems as Shelly's Ode to the Sky Lark are needed to bear us above the under stratum of care and reveal to us the security of those who have scaled the heights."
Among the many advantages which are to be gained from the right study of literature, the following are mentioned:
1. It increases the pupil's vocabulary.
8. It elevates the moral tone, and incites emulation of the good.
9. It strengthens against evil propensities, and broadens personal responsibilities.
10. It lays the foundation to right thinking, and helps to build up a stable character.
There is probably no subject taught which is more likely to lapse into a stultifying monotony when permitted to do so, neither is there one that can be rendered more interesting or inspiring than literature when handled by a skillful teacher. To do successful work the teacher must know and love the authors he attempts to teach. He must be filled to overflowing with their choicest thoughts, and be able to converse entertainingly about all that is noble and beautiful in their life and character, and, above all, he must be able to tell interesting bits of the various tales and romances of the best authors which will incite his pupils to a longing for more of them and for a desire to get such a knowledge for themselves by delving deep into the best books.
Do not pay too much attention to biography; facts about an author are of minor importance, and should be