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HARVARD COLEGE LIBRARY
COPYRIGHT, 1914, BY HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
Acknowledgment for the use of copyright material is
The Riverside Press
The new list of English books which may be offered in preparation for entrance examination to college wisely recognizes the prevailing tendency towards studying literature largely by types, such as the Short Story, the Letter, or the Narrative Poem. This present volume in response is planned to meet the requirement for “a collection of Essays by Bacon, Lamb, De Quincey, Hazlitt, Emerson, and later writers." The essays here reprinted are therefore of two classes: one including selections from the five authors named specifically by the College Entrance Board; the other illustrating the Essay in its later development, with especial emphasis on contemporary essays and essayists. A characteristic essay by Montaigne, the originator of the form, is prefixed by way of introduction.
In secondary schools the study of a literary type like the Essay does not need to be comprehensive or detailed. The chief objects to be attained by the teacher should be to arouse interest in the subject, to call attention to the great masters and interpret their work, and to bring out clearly the significant facts regarding the nature and history of the Essay as a variety of prose literature. The annotation in this volume is brief and compact, intended merely to throw light on difficult passages. The selections are,
it is hoped, of a representative character; but they ought to be supplemented by further reading, particularly in current magazines, so that students may be able intelligently to compare modern essays with those by acknowledged classic writers. In any case the Essay should be viewed as closely related to life itself, and especially to life as we see it immediately around us in our own time.