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The Age of Milton was originally undertaken by Mr. J. Bass Mullinger, author of The History of the University of Cambridge and other highly esteemed works, and left entirely in his hands. But the pressure of many other claims upon his time and attention has made it impossible for him to carry out this arrangement; and as Mr. Masterman, of his college, whose literary ability was already well known, had assisted Mr. Mullinger in his researches for the proposed volume, I was glad to agree that to him the main part of the work should be transferred, and feel sure readers will congratulate themselves on the substitute so fortunately secured.
JOHN W. HALES.
The period comprised in this volume extends from the year 1632 to the Restoration ; and although, in the case of Milton, Clarendon, and a few minor writers, it has appeared necessary to give some account of literary productions belonging chronologically to the Restoration period, no attempt has been made to supply any general survey of those times, which have already been dealt with in an earlier volume of this series on The Age of Dryden.
The writer makes, for the most part, little claim to originality—for which, indeed, the publication of Professor Masson's Life and Times of Milton has left but small scope. To that work, and to not a few others dealing with the period, the author's indebtedness will be sufficiently apparent.
It has been impossible, in an introductory manual like the present, to treat at all fully of those political events with which the literary history of the period is so closely connected. Fortunately, the student who wishes to know more about these has now, in the work of Dr. S. R. pol. Gardiner, a rich storehouse of information. The best that can be hoped of a volume of this kind is that it may excite in its readers such an interest in the period and its literature as shall lead at least some of them to the perusal of larger and more detailed works, and to an independent study of the great writers of the period.