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ary to what Mr. Thurber has said; one a suggestion to the pupil, one a reminder to the teacher.
To the pupil I would say, to him who will never read for other than pleasure's sake, no less than to him who may become a life-long student of English, read your Bible. Prof. A. S. Cook, in The Bible and English Prose Style, has stated at length arguments of which I shall not attempt here to give even a brief. Read his book, if you wish to hear his argument. But, in any case, make yourself familiarly acquainted with the King James version. In substance or in form, in thought or in expression, the Bible mightily influences it pervades all English literature. - An occasional note has been put in to remind you of this fact.
Here and there among the notes the teacher will remark one which hints at or suggests a comparison of Irving's thought or expression with that of another writer. Such hints are intended to remind the teacher that he gets most pleasure from a trip to Europe who carries with him the most intimate acquaintance with the history and literature of the countries he may visit. So it is with reading his joy is widest and deepest who brings to his reading, of Irving, let us say, the widest acquaintance with what others have written of like or contrasted substance and expression. Such acquaintance cannot be "gotten up," as one may prepare himself on the history and topography of the next country in his itinerary. But the teacher, by suggesting authors and works for comparison, may do much.
BROOKLYN, December, 1893.
It remains briefly to explain the notes.
They are intended to suggest rather than to answer questions of fact; to guide the pupil in his search for information, rather than to supply the information. It is hoped that they do not exceed in fulness or in minuteness of directions.
E. E. W.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST AMERICAN EDITION.
These selections are printed, without repaging, from the plates of a
FIRST AMERICAN EDITION.
THE following writings are published on experiment; should they please, they may be followed by others. The writer will have to contend with some disadvantages. He is unsettled in his abode, subject to interruptions, and has his share of cares and vicissitudes. He cannot, therefore, promise a regular plan, nor regular periods of publication. Should he be encouraged to proceed, much time may elapse between the appearance of his numbers; and their size will depend on the materials he may have on hand. His writings will partake of the fluctuations of his own thoughts and feelings; sometimes treating of scenes before him, sometimes of others purely imaginary, and sometimes wandering back with his recollections to his native country. He will not be able to give them that tranquil attention necessary to finished composition; and as they must be transmitted across the Atlantic for publication, he will have to trust to others to correct the frequent errors of the press. Should his writings, however, with all their imperfections, be well received, he cannot conceal that it would be a source of the purest gratification; for though he does not aspire to those high honors which are the rewards of loftier intellects, yet it is the dearest wish of his heart to have a secure and cherished, though humble, corner in the good opinions and kind feelings of his countrymen.
FIRST ENGLISH EDITION.
THE following desultory papers are part of a series written in this country but published in America. The author is aware of the austerity with which the writings of his countrymen have hitherto been treated by British critics; he is conscious, too, that much of the contents of his papers can be interesting only in the eyes of American readers. It was not his intention, therefore, to have them reprinted in this country. He has, however, observed several of them from time to time inserted in periodical works of merit, and has understood that it was probable they would be published in a collective form. He has been induced, therefore, to revise and bring them forward himself, that they may at least come correctly before the public. Should they be deemed of sufficient importance to attract the attention of critics, he solicits for them that courtesy and candor which a stranger has some right to claim who presents himself at the threshold of a hospitable nation.