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THE problems involved in the preparation of a book like this are many; their solution is often a matter of experiment. In attempting A Student's History of English Literature, the writer makes small claim to originality in the method of his compilation. The admirable text-books of Pancoast, of Moody and Lovett, of Halleck, and of Johnson, as well as the older standard histories, have suggested many points of practical utility; and the writer hastens to acknowledge his indebtedness to his predecessors.
In the interest of clearness the author has adopted the simplest possible division of his subject — that according to centuries; and has relied upon the subdivisions of his chapters to emphasize properly the important literary movements of each period. He has assumed that as many as possible of the essential facts in literary history should be presented to his readers. Not only should the student become acquainted with the principal movements and epochs in our literary development - not only should he be given the opportunity to gain the comprehensive view that includes forces and influences which initiate and modify them — but he should also have before him what may be called the mechanical details of the subject, — mere facts of literary record, neither picturesque nor inspiring in themselves, but indispensable even to an elementary knowledge of liter