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SELECTED AND ARRANGED
ISAAC THOMAS, A.M. (YALE),
PRINCIPAL OF HILLHOUSE HIGH SCHOOL,
The best preparation to the study of an author is to read what he
LEACH, SHEWELL, & SANBORN,
BOSTON. NEW YORK. CHICAGO.
READING with my classes this year "The Alhambra," and selections from the "Sketch Book," it seemed to me that Irving was well worth a much wider reading in the schools than he now has. That he is not more widely read is due, no doubt, to many reasons which need not here be discussed; but certainly one of them is the lack of an available book representative of his best work. To make such selections from his works as would (1) form an interesting book for school work, and (2) represent him at his best in every direction, was therefore the first task set. At the same time, I believed that such a book would lead both teacher and pupil to a more general reading of Irving.
I am well aware that in some quarters Irving is considered antiquated, though I have never been able to see upon what ground. Then, too, he is called "genial," as if it were a small thing to be able to give pure pleasure and enjoyment. If, as he himself says, he can, "by any lucky chance, in these days of evil, rub out one wrinkle from the brow of care, or prompt a benevolent view of human nature, and make his reader more in a good humor with his fellow-beings and himself," I for one cannot see why it should be counted against him.