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JAMES B. SMILEY, A.M.
ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL OF LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL
NEW YORK .:. CINCINNATI :: CHICAGO
JUL 18 1906
Gift of the Publishers,
June 12, 19:29
COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY
JAMES B. SMILEY.
ENTERED AT STATIONERS' Hall, LONDON.
MANUAL OF AMERICAN LITERATURE.
W. P. I
In the preparation of this manual the author's aim has been simply to open the way to a study of the masterpieces of American literature. No mere description or synopsis of a work of literature can truly portray the original. The reader must go to the book itself, must grasp the spirit of the writer, and must feel for himself the beauty of the poem, the charm of the essay, the force of the novel.
The treatment is biographical rather than critical, as the author's intention has been to interest beginners in the lives of the great writers, and thus stimulate them to a freer and less mechanical study of their works.
More space has been devoted to Cotton Mather, Jonathan Edwards, and Benjamin Franklin than might at first seem to be justified from a purely literary standpoint, but stress has been laid upon them because the lives of Mather and Edwards reveal so well certain traits typical of early New England, while Franklin's writings so eminently express the spirit of his age.