of American Literature’ of Stedman
aims to furnish a sort of Westminster Abbey
, where the relative value of different writers may be roughly gauged by the number of pages assigned to each candidate for fame.
But this again is determined by the taste of the compilers, and their judgment, however catholic, is not infallible.
Still another test, and one coming nearer to a general popular consensus may be sought in the excellent catalogues which are now prepared for our public libraries—catalogues in which the list of each author's works is supplemented by appending the titles of all books or parts of books written about him; not usually including, however, magazine or newspaper articles.
By simply counting the entries of this subsidiary literature which has already grown up around each eminent man, we can obtain a certain rough estimate of the extent and variety of interest inspired by him in the public mind.
Let us take, for instance, one of the best and most recent of these catalogues—the large quarto volume which enumerates the English