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THE LITERARY HISTORY

OF ENGLAND

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THE

LITERARY HISTORY

OF

ENGLAND

IN THE END OF THE EIGHTEENTH AND BEGINNING

OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

BY MRS. OLIPHANT

AUTHOR OF 'MAKERS OF FLORENCE,' ETC.

'Reading maketh a full man."-BACON, On Study.

"A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit embalmed and treasured up
on purpose to a life beyond life."-MILTON, Areopagitica.

"Je ne voyage sans livres, ny en paix, ny en guerre. C'est la meilleure munition
que j'aye trouvé à cet humain voyage."-MONTAIGNE, Livre iii. Chap. iii.
"Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to mankind."-ADDISON, Spectator.

IN THREE VOLUMES

VOL. I.

London

MACMILLAN AND CO.

1882

1

Printed by R. & R. CLARK, Edinburgh.

PREFACE.

IT is with diffidence that the Author of the following volumes offers them to the public. The subject is a great one, and so manifold in its details that it is impossible not to have made omissions in various quarters and especially in those on which she can pretend to least knowledge, in the graver literature of Science and Philosophy. It was intended originally that the work should extend farther, and come down to the elder figures even of our own times, the poets who are now regnant in England, and the many eminent writers who have but just departed; but the period before our own, which has formed them and us, and which reaches into our own by so many survivals, was found too rich and ample to allow of further additions. The aim of the Author has been throughout rather to give, as fully as she was able, a history of the new departures, in poetry above all, in criticism, in fiction, and, to the extent of her ability, to indicate those which have occurred in history and philosophy-than to undertake an absolute

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