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render its readers independent of the authors themselves or relieve them from the duty and pleasure of studying the original works. In no case will one rise from articles of ours flattering himself that now he knows his author and may consider that subject settled. What we give him is little more than a catalogue raisonné, an illustrated conspectus, a finger-post to the best books, a guide to that of which he is in search, to what he needs, to what will interest him, to what he can read with pleasure and profit. The very shortness and fewness of the excerpts is a security that they shall only be taken as samples; they are meant to whet the appetite, to stimulate curiosity, to be steppingstones to the veritable books.
The essential plan of the original Cyclopædia of English Literature, approved by generations of diligent readers and the testimonies of many who have themselves earned the best right to testify, has been adhered to and developed. The extension from two to three volumes of like size has made room for the much-required addition of new materials in all sections of the work. Old English literature, formerly discussed in three pages, now occupies more than ten times the space; Middle English has no longer only some twenty pages allotted to it, but ninety. In the first volume alone over fifty authors not named or hardly named in the older issues are treated-shortly, but it is hoped fairly and illustrated by selections from their works: Roper and Cranmer, Sir Thomas North and Philemon Holland, Florio and Zachary Boyd, Gervase Markham and Kenelm Digby, William Prynne and Samuel Rutherford. Thomas Campion, who had been forgotten by the world, is now in his rightful place; Aubrey, formerly dismissed in a sentence or two, is now represented by a series of characteristic paragraphs. And as it is profitable not merely for the relief of contrast but for our insight into progress and decadence to glance at the handiwork of the eccentric, the hopelessly mediocre, and even those justly or unjustly condemned to the lower circles of literary lost souls, the Ogilbys and the Flecknoes, the Stanyhursts and the Drunken Barnabys, Coryate's Crudities and Boorde's Peregrinations, are treated as having their part in our literary history. Additions and changes of all kinds are innumerable.
The inconvenient arrangement by which an author was dealt with as poet, dramatist, novelist, essayist, and historian in separate sections of the work has been departed from.
Johnson will no longer have a hundred and thirty pages intercalated between the sections devoted to him, nor Scott more than two hundred pages; each author is presented continuously and once for all. Reference is further facilitated by improved typography.
The historical surveys prefixed to the several sections are entirely new, and so are a large proportion of the critical and biographical articles; a larger number have been almost entirely rewritten; no single article remains as it was, historical facts having been verified and corrected, and critical judgments carefully reconsidered. In very many cases the illustrative extracts are all different from those formerly given; where the passages in the old issue seemed well suited for the purpose in hand, they have been scrupulously verified, and, in the case of the more interesting authors, as a rule extended and added to. has been a constant effort to secure passages interesting in themselves, and least likely to suffer through separation from their context. Appropriating a famous classification, we trust there may in our three volumes be found no passages that are not for some reason worth reading at least once, few that are worth reading once but once only, far more that are worth at least two or three readings in a lifetime, and very many that are worth reading again and again for ever.
The work of the editorial staff has been much more largely supplemented than formerly by contributions or series of contributions from the admirably competent pens of writers of approved authority, as from Dr Stopford Brooke, Professor Bradley, Professor Hume Brown, Mr A. H. Bullen, Mr Austin Dobson, Dr Samuel R. Gardiner, Mr Gosse, Professor W. P. Ker, Mr Lang, Dr T. G. Law, Mr Sidney Lee, Mr A. W. Pollard, Professor Saintsbury, Mr Gregory Smith, Dr William Wallace, and others whose names will be found appended to their articles. American authors will, in the second and third volumes, contribute articles on American men of letters and their works.
In this first volume old English literature as a whole and all the writers who used to be called Anglo-Saxon-Cædmon, Bæda, Ælfred, and the rest are dealt with by Dr Stopford Brooke. Mr A. W. Pollard has charged himself with Middle English and almost all the writers down to Reformation times-Layamon, the Ormulum, the Chronicles and Romances,
Piers Plowman, Chaucer and his successors, Wyclif, Malory and the Morte d'Arthur, the Miracle-Plays, Heywood, Udall, Wyatt and Surrey. There are essays from the pen of Mr Gosse on the Elizabethan and Jacobean literature, on the Anthologies, on the Elizabethan Song-Writers, on the Elizabethan SonnetCycles; as also on Sir Philip Sidney the poet, Spenser, Webster, Ford, and Shirley. Mr Gosse has also revised, as amended and retained from the old edition, the articles on Ben Jonson, Donne, Wither, Carew, Herrick, Lovelace, Suckling, Crashaw, Vaughan, D'Avenant, and Cowley. Shakespeare is by Mr Sidney Lee. To Dr Samuel Rawson Gardiner we owe the discussion of the Puritan movement. Mr A. H. Bullen has described for us the Restoration literature, and has revised Beaumont and Fletcher, Middleton, Marston, and Massinger. Professor Saintsbury's contribution to the first volume is on Dryden. Professor Hume Brown has written on James I., Knox, and Buchanan; Mr George Neilson on Huchown; and Dr T. G. Law on the Scots Wyclifite Testament and Archbishop Hamilton's Catechism. Some eminent men of our own time--among them the late Mr Blackmore-have assisted in choosing the passages by which they were content to be represented. Others, like Mr Meredith. and Mr Hardy, have read a proof of our little lives of them, and given them an autobiographical sanction. The representatives of some great writers have both revised the articles and approved the selections made; Lord Tennyson and Mr Barrett Browning have laid us under this double obligation. To far more than can here be named we are deeply and gratefully indebted. Very many of the articles show the accurate scholarship, the keen insight, the incisive style of Mr Francis Hindes Groome, a trusty colleague whose invaluable help has unhappily been withdrawn by illness. The editor has rewritten a large number of articles, but is specially responsible for most of those on men who had no place in the former issues, and for the major part of the articles, new or revised, on Scottish literature. Every article has been carefully read in proof by the editor and at least one other fellowworker.
The portraits, nearly three hundred in number, have been reproduced from the most authentic available likenesses in the National Portrait Gallery, and other public and private collections. To the directors of the National Portrait Gallery and to the Palæographical Society especially our thanks are due for permission to reproduce portraits and facsimiles. And all who write or revise biographical articles must constantly and gratefully refer to the Dictionary of National Biography.
Our language and our literature are the only property of our large and scattered family in which all its members share equally. More than any other single influence, perhaps, our general acceptance as standard literature of a certain series of books in the common language has tended to make our very mixed race one in temper, sympathy, aspiration: Norman, Iberian, Celt, are we, but all of us Angles in speech, the instrument of thought, the vehicle of our feelings. Queen Elizabeth's statesmen and soldiers and sailors had given England a new place in the councils of Europe, the Elizabethan poets had lent a new glory to the Tudor court and capital, English literature had reached its zenith, ere Scotsmen, by increasingly general consent, gave up the old Anglian tongue of the northern lowlands-Anglian, and so even more strictly English than the southron speech-for the tongue of Bacon and Shakespeare, of Hooker and Raleigh, and accepted the English Bible at once as their literary standard and their rule of life. Scotsmen have since contributed their quota to the stream of English literature, only the more truly English from the reinclusion of the Anglian northerners. The Celtic tongue of the Highlands has steadily given way before book-English. And the use of this common tongue has educated Highlander and Lowlander into one people, has remoulded Scotsman and Englishman into brothers-german, as no warfare had done, as neither Church nor constitution had made possible, as no legislation could ever accomplish. At no time has English thought been more thoroughly English in spirit and temper than since the gathering in of the outlying sheep into the fold. Till towards the The carefully selected fac-similes and portraits end of the seventeenth century, Scottish authors, -a conspicuous and not unimportant feature as using a different idiom, are dealt with in of this edition-have all been executed exseparate sections-a separation not needed in pressly for this work by Messrs Walker & the case of Welshmen and Irishmen (see page Boutall (now Messrs Walker & Cockerell). | 831); and after the Revolution, authors of
Scottish birth, save those writing in dialect, are fully naturalised in the British republic of letters.
The Irish have no monopoly of Celtic blood, and are not even mainly Celtic in origin: Gaelic reached Erin with the first Celtic invaders from Britannia; so that even their Celtic tongue is a bond with the greater British island. Much more the tongue that has, save in the remoter districts, superseded it. However much Irish scholars may cherish the Gaelic, it is only as a secondary language, a literary luxury, a patriotic heirloom; spiritually, Irishmen have learnt incomparably more from the great body of English writers than from the ancient Irish bards or story-tellers. Happily there is no risk of Irishmen becoming altogether, or even almost, as Englishmen are; but in their common literary inheritance, in a literature to which they contribute their fair proportion, there is security for a modus vivendi not yet fully realised, there is a power working on both sides towards mutual understanding and sympathy. Even now Irishmen glory in the triumphs of their countrymen whether by race or birth, and hardly even an irreconcilable would seriously demand a home-rule in literature that should make Ussher and Berkeley, Burke and Goldsmith, Swift and Sheridan, aliens on Irish soil.
Neither Virginian colonists nor Pilgrim Fathers were keenly interested in literature as such. It was the English temper that led them into the wilderness; and it was the same spirit as had again and again moved their forefathers in the past of English history that led them finally to repudiate the English king and government. But they had no thought of renouncing any essential of their English birthright; Puritan or Cavalier, they clung to the tradition which, over seas as in the mother-land, in literature as in life, makes for freedom, fair play, sanity, reserve, commonsense, steadiness, breadth, depth, strength, and individuality. However far we may fall short of our ideals, we have essentially the same standards of uprightness, honour, dignity, the same delight in calm, open-eyed rashness.' With them as with us, the absence of universally binding standards and models makes the attainment of artistic style more difficult; independence tends to lawlessness; what is wanting in grace and polish has to be atoned for by vigour, simplicity, originality, and the free-play of imagination; and substance
must supply the lack of academic or classical form. They too, like us, have their burden of uninspired pseudo- philosophy, feeble fiction, lamentable comicalities. Blood is thicker than water, common lineage is more than geographical collocation or political constitution; of still more account for the true federation of peoples are intellectual and spiritual sympathies, common aspirations, like principles. Erelong American writers attained a distinctive note, ever most welcome in literature. But this is a development from within, not an approximation to foreign models. American humour is different from English humour, but it is vastly more akin to English humour than to any French or Spanish or German type. Chaucer and Spenser, Shakespeare and Bacon, Raleigh and Ben Jonson, are theirs by inheritance as much as they are ours; the migration across seas did not make Dryden or Pope, Addison or Steele, Johnson or Gibbon, alien to them; and the change of government at the close of the eighteenth century and the beginnings of their own national literature did nothing to hinder the full appreciation and loving study of Wordsworth and Coleridge, Shelley and Scott. Sartor Resartus first attained to book form in Massachusetts; and even yet some British authors find in America their most appreciative audience. As the English tradition has remained dominant in the constitution of the nation and the life of the people, our kindred both by lineage and language, so American literature has remained an offshoot, a true branch of English literature. In this work it has from the beginning been treated as an integral and important part of the literature of Greater Britain. We do not look on Longfellow or Poe as foreigners, or read the histories of Prescott, Motley, and Parkman as if written by strangers.
What holds of the United States is still more obviously true of the British dominions beyond seas; in Canada, South Africa, Australasia, our kith and kin have remained true to us and to themselves, and their literature is but a part of ours. Amongst them as in the United States we gladly recognise a growing individuality, a flavour racy of the soil; but the newest growths are but vigorous shoots from the English stem. Many of our most typically English writers, though they have chosen to remain Englishmen in the stricter sense, were not born within our four seas, but in farther Britain or the remoter
dependencies. Thus Thackeray was born in Calcutta, and SO was Charles Buller, the philosophical Radical; Bombay was the birthplace not merely of Rudyard Kipling, most imperialist of writers, but of such a representative Anglican dignitary as the Dean of Canterbury. Laurence Oliphant, a cosmopolitan rolling-stone, yet British to the backbone, saw the light at Capetown. There is inevitably in our home literature much that marks the world-colonising nation, the empirebuilding race.
Mankind may not be growing much holier or happier, but the stream of tendency makes for greater kindliness and the breaking down of boundaries; kindliness which begins at home inevitably extends by degrees to all the outlying kin in their several
places and relations; and at the close of the nineteenth century, in the last years of Victoria's reign, the bands of kindness have been drawn sensibly closer between the island people and their colonies, between the United Kingdom and the United States. To the youth of the English kin this work is once more and in a new shape offered as a help in seeking out and laying to heart the wisdom and the wit of our famous men of old and the fathers that begat us, in the confidence that allegiance to the highest traditions of our literature will increasingly obliterate local and temporary jealousies; and in the hope that many a saying herein recorded may make generations to come proud to be of the English name, and stir in them the thrill that tightens even the grasp of bloodbrotherhood.