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Shakespeare's England and London Shakespeare lived in a period of change. In religion, politics, literature, and commerce, in the habits of daily living, in the world of ideas, his lifetime witnessed continual change and movement. When Elizabeth came to the throne, six years before he was born, England was still largely Catholic, as it had been for nine centuries; when she died England was Protestant, and by the date of Shakespeare's death it... more...

It was in the little office of James T. Fields, over the bookstore of Ticknor & Fields, at 124 Tremont Street, Boston, that I first met my friend of now forty-four years, Samuel L. Clemens. Mr. Fields was then the editor of The Atlantic Monthly, and I was his proud and glad assistant, with a pretty free hand as to manuscripts, and an unmanacled command of the book-notices at the end of the magazine. I wrote nearly all of them myself, and in... more...

PREFACE This book is principally intended for those persons of Cornish nationality who wish to acquire some knowledge of their ancient tongue, and to read, write, and perhaps even to speak it.  Its aim is to represent in an intelligible form the Cornish of the later period, and since it is addressed to the general Cornish public rather than to the skilled philologist, much has been left unsaid that might have been of interest to the latter,... more...

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION. Information of Mediæval Europe Concerning India and Persia—Travellers—India and Persia in Mediæval German Poetry. The knowledge which mediæval Europe had of India and Persia was mostly indirect, and, as might be expected, deficient both in correctness and extent, resting, as it did, on the statements of classical and patristic writers, on hearsay and on oral communication. In the... more...

I.—Mr. Pepys   Mr. Pepys was a Puritan. Froude once painted a portrait of Bunyan as an old Cavalier. He almost persuaded one that it was true till the later discovery of Bunyan’s name on the muster-roll of one of Cromwell’s regiments showed that he had been a Puritan from the beginning. If one calls Mr. Pepys a Puritan, however, one does not do so for the love of paradox or at a guess. He tells us himself that he... more...


INTRODUCTION THE NORMALITY OF MR WELLS In his Preface to the Unpleasant Plays, Mr Shaw boasts his possession of "normal sight." The adjective is the oculist's, and the application of it is Mr Shaw's, but while the phrase is misleading until it is explained to suit a particular purpose, it has a pleasing adaptability, and I can find none better as a key to the works of Mr H.G. Wells. We need not bungle over the word "normal," in any attempt to... more...

CHAPTER I NATURE AND OFFICE OF CRITICISM 1. Purpose of Literary Study. The study or reading of literature ordinarily has a threefold purpose,—knowledge, pleasure, and culture. This purpose shows us both the character of the literature which should be read and the manner in which it should be read. As a rule we should read only books of recognized excellence, and read them with sympathetic intelligence. Trashy books, whatever pleasure they... more...

The book here included among The World's Classics made its first appearance as an octavo volume of xxiv + 352 pages, with the title- page: Characters of Shakespeare's Plays, By William Hazlitt. London:Printed by C. H. Reynell, 21 Piccadilly, 1817. William Hazlitt (1778-1830) came of an Irish Protestant stock, and of a branch of it transplanted in the reign of George I from the county of Antrim to Tipperary. His father migrated, at nineteen, to... more...

PREFACE In telling the story of Shakespeare's life and work within strict limits of space, an attempt has been made to keep closely to essential matters. There is no period of the poet's life, there is no branch of his marvellous work, that has not been the subject of long and learned volumes, no single play that has not been discussed at greater length than serves here to cover the chief incidents of work and life together. If the Homes and... more...

PRELIMINARY I The writing of this preliminary chapter, and the final survey and revision of my Whitman essay, I am making at a rustic house I have built at a wild place a mile or more from my home upon the river. I call this place Whitman Land, because in many ways it is typical of my poet,—an amphitheatre of precipitous rock, slightly veiled with a delicate growth of verdure, enclosing a few acres of prairie-like land, once the site of... more...