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Showing: 1-10 results of 180

INTRODUCTION A section of a long and splendid literature can be most conveniently treated in one of two ways. It can be divided as one cuts a currant cake or a Gruyère cheese, taking the currants (or the holes) as they come. Or it can be divided as one cuts wood—along the grain: if one thinks that there is a grain. But the two are never the same: the names never come in the same order in actual time as they come in any serious study... more...

My dear Cowell: As these Lectures would never have been written or delivered but for your hearty encouragement, I hope you will now allow me to dedicate them to you, not only as a token of my sincere admiration of your great achievements as an Oriental scholar, but also as a memorial of our friendship, now more than thirty years old, a friendship which has grown from year to year, has weathered many a storm, and will last, I trust, for what to... more...

PREFACE TO SHAKESPEARE That praises are without reason lavished on the dead, and that the honours due only to excellence are paid to antiquity, is a complaint likely to be always continued by those, who, being able to add nothing to truth, hope for eminence from the heresies of paradox; or those, who, being forced by disappointment upon consolatory expedients, are willing to hope from posterity what the present age refuses, and flatter... more...

Dr. Johnson's Preface to Shakespeare is one of the most famous critical essays of the eighteenth century, and yet too many students have forgotten that it is, precisely, a preface to the plays of Shakespeare, edited by Dr. Johnson himself. That is to say, the edition itself has been obscured or overshadowed by its preface, and the sustained effort of that essay has virtually monopolized scholarly attention—much of which should be directed... more...

INTRODUCTION. This volume contains a record of twenty lives, of which only one—that of Edward Young—is treated at length. It completes our edition of Johnson's Lives of the Poets, from which a few only of the briefest and least important have been omitted. The eldest of the Poets here discussed were Samuel Garth, Charles Montague (Lord Halifax), and William King, who were born within the years 1660-63. Next in age were Addison's... more...


INTRODUCTION. Johnson's "Lives of the Poets" were written to serve as Introductions to a trade edition of the works of poets whom the booksellers selected for republication. Sometimes, therefore, they dealt briefly with men in whom the public at large has long ceased to be interested. Richard Savage would be of this number if Johnson's account of his life had not secured for him lasting remembrance. Johnson's Life of Savage in this volume has... more...

TRAGEDIES Vol. IV MACBETH (392) Most of the notes which the present editor has subjoined to this play were published by him in a small pamphlet in 1745. I.i (393,*) Enter three Witches] In order to make a true estimate of the abilities and merit of a writer, it it always necessary to examine the genius of his age, and the opinions of his contemporaries. A poet who should now make the whole action of his tragedy depend upon enchantment, and... more...

ALMAYER'S FOLLY I am informed that in criticizing that literature which preys on strange people and prowls in far-off countries, under the shade of palms, in the unsheltered glare of sunbeaten beaches, amongst honest cannibals and the more sophisticated pioneers of our glorious virtues, a lady—distinguished in the world of letters—summed up her disapproval of it by saying that the tales it produced were "de-civilized." And in that... more...

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 Great French... more...

MY DEAR ECCLES, You will, I know, permit me to address you these essays which are more the product of your erudition than of my enthusiasm. With the motives of their appearance you are familiar. We have wondered together that a society so avid of experience and enlargement as is ours, should ignore the chief expression of its closest neighbour, its highest rival and its coheir in Europe: should ignore, I mean, the literature of the French. We... more...