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SELECTED AND EDITED BY

WALTER C. BRONSON, LITT. D.
Professor of English Literature in Brown University

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HARVARD
UNIVERSITY
LIBRARY
JUN 15 1956

COPYRIGHT, 1905

BY

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

THE MRRSHON COMPANY PRESS

RAHWAY, N J.

PREFACE.

This book has been made with a definite, practical object in view, which has set certain limits to it and determined its nature and method. It is intended for use with college classes in introductory courses in literature; and the chief purpose of it is to cultivate in the undergraduate a liking for good English prose, and to give him some knowledge of English thought as it has found expression in English essays of the last three hundred years, by putting into his hands a not too bulky collection of interesting texts by some of the greater essayists from Bacon to Stevenson. In selecting material, therefore, chief regard has been paid to intrinsic interest of thought and style, and entire essays or chapters have been given whenever that was possible; when it was not, only such extracts are presented as have a certain completeness in themselves. The title English Essays, which best indicates the nature of the collection as a whole, has been interpreted liberally, in order to include some interesting and valuable matter which is not strictly of the essay type. On the other hand, there has been no attempt to include all the good essayists since Bacon, for that would have swelled the volume unduly unless the selections were unduly short. It has not been a main object, either, to afford illustrations of the historical development of English prose style, although to a certain extent the book may be so used, and to increase its value in this respect specimens of English prose before Bacon have been added in the Appendix.

In furtherance of intelligibility and interest, the spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and sometimes the paragraphing have been modernized, except in the earlier extracts in the Appendix and in the essays of Lamb and Carlyle, where the peculiarities of capitalization and punctuation have special

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