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TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.
IN furnishing to American students an edition of Dr. Shaw's
Specimens of English Literature,” which should be adapted to their wants, the Editor deems it proper to state what changes have been made in the volume.
It appeared, upon examination, that, even with Dr. William Smith's additions to the original work of Dr. Shaw, some of the best English writers were not represented in the selections. As it seemed desirable to make the representation of approved authors as complete as a moderate limit would allow, it became necessary to revise the whole work; and, in order to gain space for a more extended view, to omit whatever was of inferior interest. found, too, that many passages, either not of the highest merit, of needless length, or unsuitable to be read in seminaries, might with advantage be abbreviated, or exchanged for others.
By these methods, it became possible, without increasing the size, materially to extend the scope of the work. While no important writer represented in the original has been excluded from this reprint, opportunity has been gained, by judicious condensation, to present to the reader specimens of the following list of English authors not included in the English edition, viz. : Algernon Sydney, Ray, John Howe, Sir Isaac Newton, Doddridge, Watts, Bishop Butler, Bentham, Foster, Chalmers, Pollok, Hallam, Mrs. Hemans, Mrs. Browning, Hugh Miller, Edward Irving, Macaulay, Hazlitt, and Hood.
In addition to the changes involved in this more enlarged representation, alterations have been made upon some one or cther of the following grounds.
Passages containing Greek or Latin quotations have generally been omitted, as embarrassing in seminaries in which the ancient
classics are not studied : an extract has occasionally been stricken out on the score of coarseness and bad taste : others of questionable truth, or of doubtful morality, have been either omitted or abridged; and prosaic or sombre passages have been exchanged for those of a more poetic or cheerful cast. A few brief foot-notes have also been added. The number, however, of such changes is not so great as to affect the identity of the two works; and has not seemed to require any other than this general acknowledgment.
The Editor indulges the hope that, while the changes which have been introduced will impart to the work an increased interest, they will not be found to impair at all its representative character; and that an improved tone, both of taste and of sentiment, in the selections, will justify the alterations with which it is now submitted to the American public.
B. N. M.
44 Caxton, d. 1491.
21. Attack upon Wolsey.
26. Introduction to the Morte d'Arthur.
171. From Doctor Faustus.