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As supplementary to the historical and biographical study of English literature as outlined in the text, the student will find it valuable to have as a background a further knowledge of the history of England, including the manners and customs in various periods; of the history of the changes and developments of the English language; and of the fundamental principles of English versification. He will be helped also by a study of the geography of the British Isles, and by a knowledge of English country-life and town-life, and of the literary landmarks of London, Edinburgh, etc. Only a few books, of general information, can be mentioned here:
I. For the political and social history of England: Green's History of the English People, 4 vols. (Harper), or his Short History of the English People, 1 vol. (Harper); S. R. Gardiner's Student's History of England (Longmans); Cheyney's A Short History of England (Ginn); Traill's Social England, 6 vols. (Putnam), in the illustrated edition, is particularly valuable and interesting for the light it throws on social conditions, and for its numerous excellent illustrations.
II. For the history of the English language: Emerson's Short History of the English Language (Macmillan); Lounsbury's History of the English Language (Holt).
III. For the principles of English versification, and the kinds and forms of English poetry: Parson's English Versification (Leach); Corson's Primer of English Verse (Ginn); Alden's English Verse (Holt); Gummere, Handbook of Poetics (Ginn).
IV. For the geography of the British Isles, literary landmarks, etc., Baedeker's Great Britain and London; Howitt's Homes and Haunts of the British Poets (Routledge); Hutton's Literary Landmarks of London and Literary Landmarks of Edinburgh (Harper).
V. The student may be referred also to several standard general histories of English literature: Taine's History of English Literature (abridged), 1 vol. (Holt); Jusserand's Literary History of the English People, 2 vols. (Putnam); Chamber's Cyclopedia of English Literature, 3 vols. (Lippincott).
For the literature before the Conquest, the following books are helpful: Ten Brink's Early English Literature (Holt); Brooke's History of Early English Literature (Macmillan); Lewis' The Beginnings of English Literature (Ginn).
For the literature from the Conquest to Chaucer: Schofield's English Literature from the Norman Conquest to Chaucer (Macmillan); Snell's The Age of Chaucer (Bell).
Ryland's Chronological Outlines of English Literature (Macmillan) is a valuable table of authors, works, and events, arranged year by year.
VI. General collections of standard English poetry and prose will be found convenient when access to a large library is difficult: A. POETRY: Manly's English Poetry, 1170–1892 (Ginn); The Oxford Book of Verse, 1250-1900 (Clarendon Press); Palgrave's Golden Treasury, series 1 and 2 (Macmillan); Pancoast's Standard English Poems (Holt); Ward's English Poets (Macmillan); Hale's Longer English Poems (Macmillan). B. PROSE: Craik's Selections from English Prose, 5 vols. (Macmillan); Pancoast's Standard English Prose (Holt); Manly's English Prose, 1137–1900 (Ginn.)
VII. Convenient school editions of standard works and selections will be found listed in the catalogues of the various publishers. Prominent among these series are The Riverside Literature Series (Houghton); English Readings Series (Holt); Everyman's Library (Dent); The Scott Library, Camelot Series (Scott); Golden Treasury Series, Temple Classics, Temple Dramatists (Macmillan); Gateway Series (American Book Co.); Standard English Classics, Athenæum Press Series (Ginn); Belles Lettres Series, Heath's English Classics (Heath); Pocket English Classics, Highways and Byways Series (Macmillan); The Clarendon Press Series (Oxford).
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL REFERENCES
AND SUGGESTED READINGS
(Note: E. M.L.-English Men of Letters' Series; G. W. S.-Great Writers' Series.)
Celtic or British Literature. - The student will get considerable knowledge of the spirit of the Celtic genius and of its contribution to English literature, as well as of the materials of Celtic romance, by readings from the following works: Joyce's Old Celtic Romances (Longmans); Lady Charlotte Guest's translation of the Mabinogion (Dent); Lady Gregory's translation of Gods and Fighting Men (Scribner). Aubrey de Vere's poems, “The Children of Lir,” “Cuchullin,” etc., are based on old Irish poems. See also Arnold's essay on "Celtic Literature” (Macmillan).
Old English Literature (before the Norman Conquest). Cook and Tinker's Select Translations from Old English Poetry (Ginn). Among the many translations of Beowulf may be mentioned the prose translation by C. G. Child (Houghton), and the verse translation by Gummere, The Oldest English Epic (Macmillan). Various translations of other Old English poems may be found in vol. II of Morley's English Writers, and in Brooke's Early English Literature (Macmillan).
Chaucer. BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM: A. W. Ward, Chaucer (E. M. L.); Root, Poetry of Chaucer (Houghton); Pollard, Chaucer in English Literature Primers (Macmillan); Lowell's essay on "Chaucer," in My Study Windows (Houghton).
READINGS: Every student should be familiar with the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. Other works giving a knowledge of Chaucer's breadth and variety are: "Knight's Tale," "Clerk's Tale,” “Man of Lawe's Tale,” “Nonne Preste's Tale," "The Pardoner's Tale," Chaucer's “Tale of Sir Thopas," 'The Prioresses' Tale," "Ballad of Good Counseil," "Compleint to his Empty Purse."
Ballads. Convenient collections of the old ballads will be found in English and Scottish Popular Ballads, vol. I, ed. by Kittredge (Houghton); Gummere, Old English Ballads (Ginn);
J. P. Kinard, Old English Ballads (Silver, Burdett & Co.). The student will be most interested in the ballads: Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne, Robin Hood and the Monk, Sir Patrick Spens, Johnie Armstrong, The Twa Corbies, Fair Margaret and Sweet William, and The Nut Brown Maid. In addition to these, it will be well to study some of the modern imitations or adaptations of the old ballad forms in such poems as Goldsmith's The Hermit, Sir Walter Scott's The Eve of St. John, Red Harlaw, and The Wild Huntsman. Many other ballads of later times will readily suggest themselves.
Malory's Morte d'Arthur is interesting not only in itself but as a source from which many later writers have derived materials for romance. The editions best adapted to the student's use are: Selections, W. E. Mead (Ginn); Morte d'Arthur, ed. by E. Rhys, in Camelot Series (Walter Scott). In the original form Malory is somewhat difficult reading for the young student. Many of the same stories have been retold in simpler form by Howard Pyle in The Story of the Champions of the Round Table, The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, and The Story of Sir Launcelot and His Companions (Scribner).
Spenser. BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM: Church, Life of Spenser (E. M. L.); Lowell's essay on “Spenser” in Among My Books (Houghton); Dowden, "Spenser the Poet and Teacher" and “The Heroines of Spenser” in Transcripts and Studies (Scribner).
READINGS: “February," in the Shepherd's Calendar; Prothalamion; and the selections from the Faërie Queene in Pancoast's Standard English Poems or in Manly's English Poetry.
Shakespeare. BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM: Dowden, Shakspere Primer (American Book Co.); Walter Raleigh, William Shakespeare (E. M. L.); Sidney Lee, Life of Shakespeare (Macmillan); Dowden, Shakspere: His Mind and Art (Harper).
READINGS: Midsummer Night's Dream (early comedy); Merchant of Venice (middle comedy); King Henry V. (history and comedy); As You Like It and Twelfth Night (later comedies); Julius Caesar (history and tragedy); Hamlet, Lear, and Mac
beth (the great tragedies); The Tempest, The Winter's Tale (romances). For selections from the Sonnets, see Pancoast's Standard English Poems.
Bacon. BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM: Church, Life of Bacon (E. M. L.); Macaulay's essay on "Bacon," in Essays, vol. II (Harper).
READINGS: Among the numerous cheap and convenient editions of the Essays, Reynolds' edition (Clarendon Press) and Abbot's edition (Longmans) may be mentioned. Milton. BIOGRAPHY
AND CRITICISM: Stopford Brooke's Milton, in Student's Literary Series (Appleton); Garnett, Milton, (in G. W. S.); Raleigh's Milton (Putnam); Lowell's essay on "Milton," in Among My Books, vol. II (Houghton).
READINGS: For Milton's minor poems see C. G. Child's Milton's Shorter Poems (Scribner). The student should begin the study of Milton with these shorter poems, especially with L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, and some of the sonnets, such as On the Completion of his Twenty Third Year and On his Blindness. For Milton's prose writings see Selected Prose Writings (Appleton). Paradise Lost, Books I, and II, ed. by Cook (Leach).
Dryden. - BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM: Saintsbury, Life of Dryden (E. M. L.); Macaulay's essay on "Dryden," in Essays, vol. I; Lowell, "Dryden," in Among my Books (Houghton).
READINGS: "Absalom and Achitophel," Part I; "MacFlecknoe,” “Under Mr. Milton's Picture," "Ode to the Memory of Mistress Ann Killigrew," "Alexander's Feast," "Song for Saint Cecilia's Day.” It will be found interesting and profitable to compare Dryden's modernized version of Chaucer's "Knight's Tale" (Palamon and Arcite) with the original, and analyze the respective merits of the two poetic styles. PROSE: selections in Pancoast's Standard English Prose (Holt).
Pope. BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM: Leslie Stephen, Alexander Pope (E. M. L.); De Quincey, in Biographical Essays and also in Essays on the Poets. Lowell's "Pope," in My Study Windows (Houghton).
READINGS: “Spring" in Pastorals; Windsor Forest; Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady; The Rape of the Lock;