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The purpose of this volume is to supply in convenient form a body of reading material suitable for use in a course of study dealing with the Romantic Movement in English literature. The selections included have been chosen with a two-fold intention: first, to provide in one book all the material, with the single exception of the novel, necessary to acquaint the student with the best and most characteristic work of the men who made the years 1798 to 1832 one of the notable epochs of English literature; secondly, to add to this body of prose and verse on which critical appreciation has set the seal of final approval, and which not to know is to argue oneself unknown, enough of what preceded and accompanied the triumph of the Romantic temper to show the inception of the Movement, its growth, its contrasts, its failings. Selections from Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry and from Scott's The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border are included because of the recognized influence of both of these collections upon the Romantic Movement; Percy and Scott were the most conspicuous of the group of antiquarians who were consciously concerned with the revival of interest in medieval ballads and romances. It seemed advisable also that the Gothic revival, another important phase of Romanticism, should be given representation, and therefore selections have been included from Walpole's The Castle of Otranto and from Beckford's The History of the Caliph Vathek. With these exceptions, the novelists have been excluded, inasmuch as a novel does not readily lend itself to selection, and had best be studied in its entirety.
It has been the aim to include, whenever possible, literary wholes; but in some cases the desire adequately to illustrate all the Romantic interests of a given writer has made it necessary to include only extracts from the longer works. But as a rule these extracts are distinctly characteristic in themselves as well as self-explanatory; where needed, summaries of omitted portions have been supplied in the notes. In the case of such works as Don Juan and The Prelude, enough is given to make the use of other books practically unnecessary. As it was impossible to give space to all of any one of Scott's longer poems, two cantos of The Lady of the Lake have been included as representative of this side of Scott's work. The complete poem, as well as Marmion, which is represented in the text only by songs, may easily be procured in cheap editions, if it is so desired.
The selections under each author are arranged in the order of writing, so far as this could be determined, except that in the case of writers from whom both poetry and prose are included, the selections of poetry are placed first. Dates of writing and publication, when known, are given at the beginning of
each selection; dates of writing are printed in italics. Lines of verse are numbered as in the complete poems; dots are used to indicate editor's omissions; asterisks are used as the authors used them and usually denote that the selection in which they occur was left incomplete. Unless the original spelling is distinctly important, as it is in the case of Chatterton's poems, modern spelling is employed. In the references to pages in this volume, the letter a is used to indicate the first column on the page; the letter b, to indicate the second column. Brief glossarial notes are given at the foot of the page; additional notes, both explanatory and critical in character, are given in the Appendix, where are also to be found bibliographies and reference lists, selections from the writings of Pope, Johnson, and Burke, a table of important historical events and a list of English, German, and French writers of the period, a glossary of proper names occurring in the text, and an index of authors, titles, first lines of poems, and first lines of lyrics found in the dramas and other long works printed in this volume.
I wish to express my thanks to the Houghton Mifflin Company, to Ginn and Company, to the Macmillan Company, to the John Lane Company, and to E. P. Dutton and Company for the privilege of quoting extracts from their publications; to the Librarian of the Harvard University Library for the use of a number of books which otherwise would have been inaccessible to me; to Professor Arthur W. Craver, of Miami University, and to Professor George Benedict, of Brown University, for suggestions regarding individual writers and selections; to Miss Iva Firkins, of the Library of the University of Minnesota, and to Mr. R. L. Walkley, of the Minneapolis Public Library, for help in preparing the bibliographies; to several of my colleagues and students who have been generous of their time in supplying necessary information or other help; and especially to Professor Lindsay Todd Damon, of Brown University, whose careful supervision and keen critical judgment have made for countless improvements throughout the book.
In a book of this size and nature, it is extremely difficult to preserve complete consistency of treatment, and no doubt inaccuracies have resulted. shall appreciate notification of any corrections which may occur to students or instructors using the volume. G. B. W.
September 1, 1916.