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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRAFY 542293A

ASTOR, LENOX AND
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS
R

1931

Entered according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1854, by

S. AUSTIN ALLIBONE, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Eastern

District of Pennsylvania.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by

GEORGE W. CHILDS, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Eastern

District of Pennsylvania.

Copyright, 1886, by S. AUSTIN ALLIBONE.

PAINTED BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, PHILADELPHIA.

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P R E F A C E.

Tus importance and value of a dictionary of a lan- | 100 volumes a year, it would require 500 years w guage are understood and appreciated by all. If I exhaust such a library! How important is it, then, find a word in a book, or hear a word used by another, to know what to read! And how shall this knowledge which I do not fully comprehend, I have nothing to be obtained ? Now let us revert to our opening redo but refer to my dictionary, where all the needful marks upon the value of a dictionary of words. If information is before me. I have now increased my there be such an advantage in full definition, in stock of knowledge, and can use the word myself in alphabetical arrangement, and consequent facility of speaking or writing, and comprehend it when used reference, why should we not have a dictionary of by others. Another link is added to those ties which books and authors as well as of words? Suppose that bind me to society; my capacity for giving and re- I wish to know whether Hume or Lingard's History ceiving valuable information and innocent pleasure of England, or Spenser's Poems, or Burke's Speeches, is enlarged. It is now natural for me to reason with or Thomson's Seasons, are desirable works for my myself, that if the knowledge of only one new term school, my library, my parlour table ;-or suppose I of thought be so desirable, because so useful, how wish to know the personal history of these authorsFould my usefulness and happiness be increased of Hume, Lingard, Burke, Thomson—what trouble I by larger additions to my stock of mental wealth! shall have in obtaining the desired information! But A life spent in the acquisition of knowledge, surely if I had a Dictionary of Literary listory and Biowould be a bappy life! But few men can so devote graphy, I have nothing to do but turn to H, or L, or their whole time, and if this were practicable, life is B, or T, and I am at once in possession of what I too short for any one man to possess himself of all seek. But is there any such work to be had ? It is the secrets of nature, the discoveries of science, and a remarkable fact that, notwithstanding the obvious the triumphs of art. I cannot at the same time, advantages of such a work, there was none such in gaze with the astronomer, explore with the voyager, print before the present publication. There were, calculate with the mathematician, and experiment indeed, meagre “Compendiums of Engiish Litera with the philosopher. But it occurs to me that there ture,” and “Comprehensive Cyclopædias,” the largest is a mode in which I may, to a large extent, avail of which (with the exception of a book of titles of myself of the results of the labours of others. These works) contains about 850 out of more than 30,000 have been given to mankind through the medium of authors! Much of such knowledge, too, is found the press. I can, therefore, devote my leisure time scattered here and there in expensive biographical to such profitable reading as shall make me acquainted compilations, which can never become popular, bewith much of which I must otherwise be ignorant. cause very costly, and are, indeed, insufficient authoriReading is that art by which I am enabled to avail ties in literary history. myself of the recorded wisdom of mankind. But bere a practical difficulty suggests itself. The multi- English Republic of Letters, the compiler determined plicity of books, even in my own langunge, renders to undertake the preparation of the long-desired a careful selection absolutely indispensable It has work, and he now has the pleasure of presenting to been computed that of the 650,000 (?) volumes in the the public the results of labours extending over a English language, about 50,000 would repay a peru-, long period, and pursued with unwearied zeal, in “A sal! Suppose a person to read 100 pages a day, or Critical Dictionary of English LITERATURE AND

BRITISH AND ANERICAN AUTHORS, LIVING AND DE- the King of England; in modern times, by Lurd CEASED, FROM THE EARLIEST ACCOUNTS TO THE MID- Brougham, Lord John Russell, Sir Robert Peel, Mr DLE OF THE 19TH CENTURY."

Macaulay, and many others. Now, such criticisms The principal features of the work are the follow- and commendations, invaluable as they are, are ioating:

ing about in books and pamphlets, often difficult to 1. It is arranged in alphabetical order, to insure procure, and troublesome to examine. In the prefacility of reference.

sent work they will be found, in the whole or in part, 2. While professing to chronicle only British and arranged in a few pages under the name of BURKE. American authors, in our Coilege of Letters, we Such an article alone is well worth the price of the have sometimes overlooked the question of nativity, whole book. When Mr. Bryant was a youthful poet and enrolled a writer whose insignia of literary his effusions were most favourably noticed by that aobility could properly be quartered on an English | first class authority, the London RETROSPECTIVE field. That, indeed, would be a prodigul parsimony Review, as well as by other periodicals and critics. which should exclude from the national coffers of Some years later, CHRISTOPHER North and Washintellectual wealth, the superscriptions of Anse'm, Ington Irving (then in London) displayed their good Lanfranc, Benoit De Sainte-Maur, and Peter of taste by warmly applauding the “thoughts that Blois.

breathe and words that burn” of the great American 8. As a general rule, a succinct biography is given bard. In the present work the reader has only to of each author of note. The length of such notice, turn to the name of Bryant, to find an account of of course, depends upon his prominence as an indi- these and other interesting facts connected with Mr. vidual, and his rank as an author. Those of the B.'s poetical career. So a reference to the name of first class, such as, Addison Anselm, Ascham, Bacon, Washingtox Irving will place him in possession of Burke, Byron, Bryant, Chaucer, Chilling worth, Cla- the prominent events connected with the life of this rendon, Cowper, Davy, Dryden, Dwight, Edwards, distinguished ornament of English literature. In Everett, Franklin, Gildas, Gibbon, Halam, Hall, like manner are noticed the works and lives of the Henry, Irving, Johuson, Laud, Leighton. Locke, principal living (as well as deceased) British authors: Milton, More, Newton, Otway, Paley, Pope, Prescott, -IIALLAM, BROUGHAM, Macaulay, Dickens, Bulwen Robertson, Roscoe, Savage, Spenser, Shakspeare, Lytton, &c. Sherlock, Southey, Sparks, Taylor, Thomson, Tyn- 5. The laudable curiosity of the bibliomaniac, oi dale, Usher, Vanbrugh, Wace, Warburton, Walpole, lover of rare works, is not forgotten in this volunie Watts, Waterland, Wood, Young, and SEVERAL THOU- Occasional notices are given of BAND OTHERS, are treated at considerablo iength. Less

“The small, rare volume, black with tarnished gold." space is devoted to those less distinguished. The number of authors whose works are noticed is about (Ferriar's “Bibliomania,” p. 11: Epistle to Richard 30,000, a far greater number of English writers than Heber, Esq.) whilst the early RoXBURGHE Festivals, has ever before been brought together in any work, the tournaments at Leigh and Sotheby's, and the tri. or indeed in all previous publications.

umphs of DibdiN, HEBER, and THORPE, claim respect4. The most valuable feature of the work is now ful remembrance. to be mentioned. Compilers of manuals of literature 6. The second division of this work consists of a have almost universally fallen into the great error of copious index of subjects, so that the inquirer can giving their own opinions, almost exclusively, upon the merits or demerits of the authors under conside- TIE LANGUAGE, ARRANGED UNDER THE SUBJECT OR ration. Now, these opinions may be valuable or not:

Under the public generally neither ask nor care what their | AGRICULTURE, the farmer will find authors' names views may be. This capital error is avoided in the alphabetically arranged; and by turning to each one, present work. The compiler occasionally ventures can see the title or titles of his work or works, and an opinion of bis own, but this will be merely sup- probably an estimate of the value of bis labours. So plemental to opinions better known and more highly in ANTIQUITIES, Chemistry, Divinity, DRAMA, Law, appreciated by the reading public. As a carefully Political Economy, Biography, &c. This arrangeprepared RECORD OF THE OPINIONS OF GREAT MEN ment, the compiler considers, will confer an inestiUPON GREAT MEN, this work will prove an invalunble mable value upon the work. He thus presents to the guide to the student of literary history. For instance, public, in one volume, a COMPREHENSIVE MANUAL able criticisms upon the speeches and literary pro- of English LITERATURE-authors and subjects-ductions of EDMUND BURKE have been written or / MANUAL WHICH IS TO THE LITERATURE OF THE LANspoken by such men as M. Cazalés, Charles James GUAGE WHAT AN ORDINARY DICTIONARY Fox, Sir James Mackintosh, Dr. Johnson, Curran, Wilberforce, the Duke de Levis, Gerard Hamilton, ū The value of the work can be best seen hy a Dr. French Laurence, Lord Eldon, Dr. Parr, Robert comparison with other works of a somewhat similar Hall, the Emperor of Germany, the Princes of France, cbaracter.

FIND AT A GLANCE ALL THE AUTHORS OF ANY XOTE IN

SUBJECTS UPON WHICH THEY HAVE WRITTEN.

1S TO THE

WORDS OF THE LANGUAGE.

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