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There is for every nation a history, which does not respond to the trumpet-call of battle, which does not limit its interests to the conflict of dynasties. This-the history of intellectual growth and artistic achievement - if less romantic than the popular panorama of kings and queens, finds its material in imperishable masterpieces, and reveals to the student something at once more vital and more picturesque than the quarrels of rival parliaments. Nor is it in any sense unscientific to shift the point of view from politics to literature. It is but a fashion of history which insists that a nation lives only for her warriors, a fashion which might long since have been ousted by the commonplace reflection that, in spite of history, the poets are the true masters of the earth. If all record of a nation's progress were blotted out, and its literature were yet left us, might we not recover the outlines of its lost history?

It is, then, with the literature of nations, that the present series is concerned.

Each volume will be entrusted to a distinguished scholar, and the aid of foreign men of letters will be invited whenever the perfection of the series demands it.



A Literary History of America

A Literary History

of America


Barrett Wendell

Professor of English at Harvard College

New York
Charles Scribner's Sons

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