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History Of American Literature

by Reuben Post Halleck

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Book Description
The transcendentalist, while voicing his ecstasy over life, has put himself on record as not wishing to do anything more than once. For him God has enough new experiences, so that repetition is unnecessary. He dislikes routine. "Everything," Emerson says, "admonishes us how needlessly long life is," that is, if we walk with heroes and do not repeat. Let a machine add figures while the soul moves on. He dislikes seeing any part of a universe that he does not use. Shakespeare seemed to him to have lived a thousand years as the guest of a great universe in which most of us never pass beyond the antechamber.

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The wide use of the author's History of English Literature, the favor with which it has been received in all parts of the United States, and the number of earnest requests for a History of American Literature on the same plan, have led to the writing of this book. It has not appeared sooner because the author has followed his rule of making a careful first-hand study, not only of all the matter discussed, but also of a far greater amount, which, although it must be omitted from a condensed textbook, is, nevertheless, necessary as a background for judgment and selection.



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