This book is based upon a course of lectures delivered during January of 1903 before the Lowell Institute in Boston
Their essential plan was that of concentrating attention on leading figures, instead of burdening the memory with a great many minor names and data.
Various hearers, including some teachers of literature, took pains to express their approval of this plan, and to suggest that the material might profitably be cast into book form.
This necessarily meant a good deal of revision of a kind which the lecturer did not care to undertake; and he was able to secure the cooperation of a younger associate, to whom has fallen the task of modifying and supplementing the original text, so far as either process was necessary in order to make a complete and consecutive, though still brief, narrative of the course of American
use as a text-book has been supplied in an appendix, and is believed to be adequate.
It should be said further that the personal reminiscences, and, in general, all passages in which the first person singular is employed, are taken over bodily from the original lectures.
Elsewhere the authorship of the book as it stands is a composite, but, it is hoped, not confused affair.
Acknowledgments are due to Messrs. Longmans
and New York), who have permitted the use of some passages from Short studies of American authors
, and to Messrs. Harper
and Brothers, who consented to similar extracts from a work published by them, entitled Book and heart
(New York and London
, 1899), both these books being by the senior author of this work.