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Outlines of English and American Literature
The Critics and Essayists
by Long, William J.


From the seventeenth to the nineteenth century (or from Shakespeare to Wordsworth) England was preparing a great literature; and then appeared writers whose business or pleasure it was to appreciate that literature, to point out its virtues or its defects, to explain by what principle this or that work was permanent, and to share their enjoyment of good prose and poetry with others,--in a word, the critics.

In the list of such writers, who give us literature at second hand, the names of Leigh Hunt, William Hazlitt, Walter Savage Landor, Charles Lamb and Thomas De Quincey are written large. The two last-named are selected for special study, not because of their superior critical ability (for Hazlitt was probably a better critic than either), but because of a few essays in which these men left us an appreciation of life, as they saw it for themselves at first hand.

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