Halleck's New English Literature eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 629 pages of information about Halleck's New English Literature.

Burke.—­Let the student who has not the time to read all the speech on Conciliation with America (Eclectic English Classics, or Gateway Series, American Book Company, 20 cents) read the selection in Craik, IV., 379-385, and also the selection referring to the decline of chivalry, from Reflections on the Revolution in France (Craik, IV., 402).

Point out in Burke’s writings the four characteristics mentioned on p. 331.  Compare his style with Bacon’s, Swift’s, Addison’s, and Gibbon’s.

Goldsmith.—­Read his three masterpieces:  The Deserted Village, The Vicar of Wakefield (Eclectic English Classics, or Gateway Series, American Book Company), She Stoops to Conquer (Cassell’s National Library; Everyman’s Library).

Select passages that show (a) altruistic philosophy of life, (b) humor, (c) special graces of style.  What change did She Stoops to Conquer bring to the stage?  What qualities keep the play alive?

Johnson.—­Representative selections are given in Craik, IV., 141-185.  Those from Lives of the English Poets (Craik, IV., 175-182; Century, 405-419) will best repay study.  Let the student who has the time read Johnson’s Dryden entire.  As much as possible of Boswell’s Life of Johnson should be read (Craik, IV., 482-495; Manly, II., 277-292).

Compare the style of Johnson with that of Gibbon and Burke.  For what reasons does Johnson hold a high position in literature?  What special excellences or defects do you note in his Lives of the English Poets?  Why is Boswell’s Life of Johnson a great work?


[Footnote 1:  The English Humorists of the Eighteenth Century.]

[Footnote 2:  To be found in Encyclopaedia Britannica, or in Macaulay’s collected Essays.]

[Footnote 3:  For full titles, see p. 50.]

[Footnote 4:  For full titles, see p. 6.]


History of the Period.—­Much of the English history of this period was affected directly or indirectly by the French Revolution (1789).  The object of this movement was to free men from oppression by the aristocracy and to restore to them their natural rights.  The new watchwords were “Liberty, Fraternity, Equality.”  The professed principles of the French revolutionists were in many respects similar to those embodied in the American Declaration of Independence.

At first the movement was applauded by the liberal-minded Englishmen; but the confiscation of property, executions, and ensuing reign of terror soon made England recoil from this Revolution.  When France executed her king and declared her intention of using force to make republics out of European powers, England sent the French minister home, and war immediately resulted.  With only a short intermission, this lasted from 1793 until 1815, the contest caused by the French Revolution having become merged in the Napoleonic war.  The battle of Waterloo (1815) ended the struggle with the defeat of Napoleon by the English general, Wellington.

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