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ETHAN BRAND. —THE SWANS OF LIR. - A NIGHT IN A WORKHOUSE. --- THE
FLIGHT OF A TARTAR TRIBE.
1. Cui a
MS. KARCARET LCGHTSON CARNEY
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874,
BY JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY, in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
create an einem and
UNIVERSITY PRESS: Welch, Bigelow, & Co.,
AT is not more difficult for the mineralogist to define SAS e a metal, than for the critic to define a classic. No
y attribute or property of metal can be mentioned, — hardness, brittleness, malleability, magnetism, lustre, — but some acknowledged metal can be found which lacks it. So when we come to define what is classic in literature, we find not a single quality that may not be dispensed with, or that is not lacking in some universally accepted and canonized piece of composition. Is age a requisite ? Consider Mr. Lincoln's speech at Gettysburg, which was recognized as classic and immortal the hour it was flashed from the wires and printed or misprinted in the five thousand journals of the land. Is perfection of plot or unity of design necessary ? “ David Copperfield" can hardly be said to have a plot, and the “Merchant of Venice” is notably lacking in unity. Is detailed grammatical and idiomatic correctness indispensable? Then how few are the absolute masters of English prose! It is with some feeling of embarrassment at this lack of any perfect test, that I have gathered the contents of these volumes and ventured to call them Little Classics. And yet the genuine lovers of literature, setting aside all attempt at conscious definition, and following only their artistic instincts, will not seriously differ in their opinion as to what deserves the name of classic and bears the warrant of immortality.