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ltopicX AND jrw is FOUNDATIONS.
Entered according to the act of congress, in the year 1833, by James Kay, Jun. & Co., in the clerk's office of the district court of the eastern district of Pennsylvania.
The following LECTURES were read in the university of Edinburgh, for twenty-four years. The publication of them, at present, was not altogether a matter of choice. Imperfect copies of them, in manuscript, from notes taken by students who heard them read, were first privately handed about; and afterwards frequently exposed to public sale. When the author saw them circulate so currently, as even to be quoted in print,* and found himself often threatened with surreptitious publications of them, he judged it to be high time that they should proceed from his own hand, rather than come into public view under some very defective and erroneous form.
They were originally designed for the initiation of youth into the study of belles lettres, and of composition. With the same intention they are now published; and, therefore, the form of Lectures, in which they were at first composed, is still retained. The author gives them to the world, neither as a work wholly original, nor as a compilation from the writings of others. On every subject contained in them, he has thought for himself. He consulted his own ideas and reflections: and a great part of what will be found in these Lectures is entirely his own. At the same time he availed himself of the ideas and reflections of others, as far as he thought them proper to be adopted. To proceed in this manner, was his duty as a public professor, It was incumbent on him to convey to his pupils all the knowledge that could improve them; to deliver not merely what was new, but what might be useful, from whatever quarter it came. He hopes, that to such as are studying to cultivate their taste, to form their style, or to prepare themselves for public speaking or composition, his Lectures will afford a more comprehensive view of what relates to these subjects, than, as far as he knows, is to be received from any one book in our language.
In order to render his work of greater service, he has generally referred to the books which he consulted, as far as he remembers them; that the readers might be directed to any farther illustration which they afford. But, as such a lengtå of tiine has elapsed since the first composition of these Lectures, he may, perhaps have adopted the sentiments of some author into whose writings he had ther looked, without now remembering whence he derived them. iii. :
In the opinions, which, he has delivered concerning such a variety of authors, and of literary matters, as some under his consideration, he cannot expect that all his readers will concurwith him. The subjects are of such a nature, as allow room for much diversity of taste and sentiment: and the author will respectfully submit to the judgment of the public.
Retaining the simplicity of the lecturing style, as best fitted for conveying instruction, he has aimed, in his language, at no more than perspicuity. If, after the liberties which it was necessary for him to take, in criticising the style of the most eminent writers in our language, his own style shall be thought open to reprehension, all that he can say, is, that his book will add one to the many proofs already afforded to the world, of its being much easier to give instruction, than to set example.
* Biographia Britanica. Article Addison.
THE Editor of the present edition of Dr. Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, has endeavoured to present the work to the public, in a style which he thinks will meet with entire approbation. The plates from which it is printed, were originally cast for Mr. George F. Hopkins, from a late London copy, and were, in general, found to be very correct; a few errors were, however, on critical examination, detected; but these having been carefully removed, the Editor has now no hesitation in saying, that this is as perfect an edition of the work, as any previously issued from the press, either in this country or in Great Britain.
In addition to its correctness, this edition has to recommend it, a copious collection of questions, which were prepared with the greatest care and attention. The Editor is, however, aware, that this method of teaching has, by some gentlemen of science, been objected to; and considering the manner in which questions have almost uniformly been written, the objection is certainly not without foundation. But that the student may be preserved from the disadvantages arising from using questions unskilfully prepared, and, at the same time, be relieved from the tediousness of studying the work without them, the Editor has been careful, so to construct these questions, that the answers which they require, necessarily include every sentence of the work itself; thus effecting the double purpose of greatly facilitating the recitations of classes, and, at the same time, of: compelling each scholar to learn every word of the author, . : ..: :
To the lectures that require them, the Editor has also affixed analyses, which are principally designed to facilitaie the studies of young gentlemen at college, and of young ladies at school, who may be sufficiently advanced to pursue this course; and it affords, the Editor: peciilias pleasure here to state, that they have been used by a number of classes of young ladies, educated by himself, in this city, with entire success.
In preparing these analyses, the Editor has generally followed the natural divisions of the lectures, as they are laid down by the author himself; but from the necessity of making each one of nearly the same length, he has, perhaps, in a few instances, extended the number of his subdivisions beyond their natural length: he presumes, however, that no inconvenience will result to the student from the course which he has pursued. as the omission of such subdivisions as may appear unnecessary, will be attended with no material consequences.
New-YORK, August, 1829.
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