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AN ATTEMPT TOWARDS
A HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE
LL,D, PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE AT UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
A FIRST volume of English WRITERS was published in the year 1864, as an account of the Writers before Chaucer, with an introductory sketch of the Four Periods of English Literature.
an octavo of about 800 pages, presently divided into half volumes, and followed, in 1867, by a third half volume, which brought the story down to the invention of printing. The design, then partly completed, had been to describe the course of English Literature with detail enough to make its meaning clear and give it interest to readers generally. But the volumes chiefly passed into the hands of students, and the book was credited with having hit a mark at which it did not aim.
While that generous estimate of the book made its writer the more conscious of deficiency, it was securing him admission to new fields of labour, in which study of Literature, until then the chief pleasure, became also the chief duty of his working life.
Under such conditions the book could not be reprinted or continued without very considerable change of plan. At that time also the labours of the Early English Text Society and of many good scholars in England and Germany were