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N. PAINTER, A.M., D.D., Litt.D.
PROFESSOR OF EDUCATION IN ROANOKE COLLEGE
AUTHOR OF "A HISTORY OF EDUCATION," "HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERA-
GUIDE TO LITERARY CRITICISM,'
"POETS OF THE SOUTH,"
BY LEACH, SHEWELL & SANBORN
COPYRIGHT, 1903, 1911, 1916
BY SIBLEY & COMPANY
IN sending out a new and revised edition of his Introduction to American Literature, the author wishes, first of all, to express his gratitude to the teachers who in all parts of our country have given a cordial reception to his work. In the present revision he has endeavored to make the book still more worthy of their favor.
The present revision has improved the book in several important particulars. A considerable amount of new material has been added to the Second National Period. The text has been reset; and, most noteworthy of all the improvements, a large number of effective new illustrations has been introduced.
The experience of a great number of teachers has confirmed the author's judgment of years ago that literature cannot be learned from the ordinary manuals, which present only brief biographical facts and fossilized critical estimates. Works of this character are useful for reference, and may possess some value for training the memory, at least till the final examinations are over; but they are feeble instruments of literary culture, which after all is the principal aim in teaching literature.
This revised edition, like the work in its original form, aims to introduce the student to American literature itself, with such helps as will give him an intelligent appreciation of its nature and value. The General Survey of each period presents briefly the social and political conditions under which the various authors wrote. The sketches of the representative writers give with considerable fulness the leading
biographical facts, together with typical extracts and critical estimates of their works. The selections for special study contained in the Second Part, which are chosen to illustrate the distinguishing characteristics of each author, are supplied with explanatory notes to clear up obscurities. In this way,
it may be fairly claimed, the student is put in a position to gain a clear and substantial knowledge of our best authors.
In pursuing this method, the student gets something more than a substantial knowledge of our literature. He is trained in correct methods of literary study. His literary taste is developed as he critically examines some of the masterpieces of our prose and poetry; and in his subsequent studies in literature he will be capable, in some measure at least, of forming an intelligent and independent judgment.
The book claims to be nothing more than an introduction to American literature. It is not designed to be a comprehensive manual of reference, though comparatively few writers worthy of note have been omitted from the lists prefixed to each period. It considers at length only the welldefined periods and representative writers. It thus follows what is known as the intensive method.
In using the book in the classroom, for which it is chiefly intended, it is not necessary to restrict the student to the texts supplied. If time permits and the proper books of reference are at hand, the teacher may profitably supplement what is here presented by assigning subjects for the student's independent investigation. To this end a list of topics, which is intended to serve merely the purpose of suggestion, has been appended to the several periods and the discussion of the principal writers.
F. V. N. PAINTER.