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ALEXANDRE DUMAS Alexandre Dumas is a writer, and his life is a topic, of which his devotees never weary.  Indeed, one lifetime is not long enough wherein to tire of them.  The long days and years of Hilpa and Shalum, in Addison—the antediluvian age, when a picnic lasted for half a century and a courtship for two hundred years, might have sufficed for an exhaustive study of Dumas.  No such study... more...

DEDICATION. MY DEAR WILLIAM ARCHER, Severe and ruthlessly honest man that you are, you will find that the levities and the gravities of this book do not accord, and will say so. I plead only that they were written at intervals, and in part for recreation, during years in which their author has striven to maintain a cheerful mind while a popular philosophy which he believed to be cheap took possession... more...

CAMDEN'S "BRITANNIA" BRITAIN: or a chorographical description of the most flourishingKingdomes, England, Scotland and Ireland, and the Ilands adioyning;out of the depth of Antiquitie: beautified with Mappes of the severallShires of England; Written first in Latine by William Camden,Clarenceux K. of A. Translated newly into English by Philémon Holland.Londini, Impensis Georgii Bishop &... more...

SOME THOUGHTS OF A READER OF TENNYSON Fifty years after Tennyson’s birth he was saluted a great poet by that unanimous acclamation which includes mere clamour.  Fifty further years, and his centenary was marked by a new detraction.  It is sometimes difficult to distinguish the obscure but not unmajestic law of change from the sorry custom of reaction.  Change hastes not and rests not, reaction... more...

A book appeared not long ago of which it was the professed object to give to the modern generation of lazy readers the pith of Boswell's immortal biography. I shall, for sufficient reasons, refrain from discussing the merits of the performance. One remark, indeed, may be made in passing. The circle of readers to whom such a book is welcome must, of necessity, be limited. To the true lovers of... more...

OPINIONS OF AUTHORS Libraries are as the shrines where all the relics of the ancient saints, full of true virtue, and that without delusion or imposture, are preserved and reposed.—Bacon, Advancement of Learning. We visit at the shrine, drink in some measure of the inspiration, and cannot easily breathe in other air less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits.—Hazlitt's Plain Speaker. What a... more...

INTRODUCTION. My publisher must take at least some of the responsibility for reviving these essays. All bear the marks of the period at which they were written; and some of them deal with the beginnings of movements which have since grown to much greater strength, and in growing have developed new characteristics at the expense of what was originally more prominent. Other pages, again, take no account... more...

by: Voltaire
INTRODUCTION François Marie Arouet, who called himself Voltaire, was the son of François Arouet of Poitou, who lived in Paris, had given up his office of notary two years before the birth of this his third son, and obtained some years afterwards a treasurer’s office in the Chambre des Comptes.  Voltaire was born in the year 1694.  He lived until within ten or eleven years of the outbreak of the... more...

CHAPTER I.INTRODUCTORY. Village libraries—Difficulties of travel—Literary Societies in the Highlands—Gaelic books—Happiness and geniality of natives—Oban to Gairloch—Winter sailing—A crofting village—Horrors of the Minch—Notes on Lewis—Highland doctors—Hotels and anglers—Recent books—Military—Moray Firth—Among the miners—Handloom weaving—Professor Blackie and the... more...

Introduction My aim in this little book has been to give short sketches and estimates of the greatest modern English writers from Macaulay to Stevenson and Kipling. Omissions there are, but my effort has been to give the most characteristic writers a place and to try to stimulate the reader's interest in the man behind the book as well as in the best works of each author. Too much space is devoted... more...