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This attempt to present within the space of a single volume a comprehensive view of the life of Lowell and a consistent interpretation of his work is grounded largely upon printed sources. Chief of these is the admirable collection of his letters edited by Mr. Charles Eliot Norton. I have, indeed, endeavored to make Lowell, so far as possible, tell his own story, and be his own interpreter, in multitudinous short excerpts from his correspondence. I have quoted from the Letters with the permission of Harper & Brothers, proprietors of the copyright, my citations being from the augmented edition issued in three volumes by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. under arrangement with Harper & Brothers. Second only to the Letters as a storehouse of facts has been the elaborate Life in two volumes prepared by Horace E. Scudder. The records and impressions of Lowell by Mr. Howells, Mr. Henry James, Mr. A. Lawrence Lowell, Col. T. W. Higginson, Mr. G. E. Woodberry, and
Dr. E. E. Hale have all been of considerable service; while the two volumes of memorabilia by F. H. Underwood have been specially helpful many points. Other obligations will appear in the text and will be duly acknowledged in foot-notes. From these various and often discrepant sourees I have endeavored to mould a just impression of Lowell's life, modifying it or amplifying it from fresh manuscript material when it could be found and Cantabrigian tradition when it could be trusted. I have everywhere tried to verify and vivify this impression by constant recourse to Lowell's own writings; in this respect Lowell's commonplace books and notebooks, which were placed in my hands by Mr. Norton, have been of the greatest assistance.
As an exhaustive bibliography of Lowell's writings by Mr. George Willis Cooke is soon to be forthcoming, I have not thought it necessary to burden this volume with a necessarily less complete one. I have to thank Mr. Cooke for aid in clearing up one or two doubtful points of Lowell bibliography. For permission to print a few letters which appear for the first time in this book, I am indebted to the kindness of Messrs. Thomas