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position of the earlier historians who looked into the past with interest and into the present and future not without hope. Following in general the plan of The Cambridge History of English Literature and of our encyclopædic Duyckinck, we have made it our primary purpose to represent as adequately as space allowed all the periods of our national past, and to restore the memory of writers who are neglected because they are forgotten and because they are no longer sympathetically understood. To write the intellectual history of America from the modern æsthetic standpoint is to miss precisely what makes it significant among modern literatures, namely, that for two centuries the main energy of Americans went into exploration, settlement, labour for subsistence, religion, and statecraft. For nearly two hundred years a people with the same traditions and with the same intellectual capacities as their contemporaries across the sea found themselves obliged to dispense for the most part with art for art. But the long inhibition and belated expansion of their purely æsthetic impulses, unfavourable as it was to the development of poetry and fiction, was no serious handicap to the production of a prose competently recording their practical activities and expressing their moral, religious, and political ideas. Acquaintance with the written record of these two centuries should enlarge the spirit of American literary criticism and render it more energetic and masculine. To a taste and judgment unperverted by the current finical and transitory definitions of literature, there is something absurd in a critical sifting process which preserves a Restoration comedy and rejects Bradford's History of Plymouth; which prizes a didactic poem in the heroic couplets and despises the work of Jonathan Edwards; which relishes the letters of some third rate English poet, but finds no gusto in the correspondence of Benjamin Franklin; which sends a student to the novels of William Godwin, but never thinks of directing him to The Federalist. When our American criticism treats its facile novelists and poetasters as they deserve, and heartily recognizes and values the works in which the maturest and wisest Americans have expressed themselves, its references to the period prior to 1800 will be less apologetic.
For the nineteenth century, too, without neglecting the writers of imaginative literature who have been most emphasized by our literary historians, we have attempted to do a new service by giving a place in our record to departments of literature, such as travels, oratory, memoirs, which have lain somewhat out of the main tradition of literary history but which may be, as they are in the United States, highly significant of the national temper. In this task we have been much aided by the increasing number of monographs produced within the past quarter of a century upon aspects of American literary history. Such collections as A Library of American Literature, edited by Edmund Clarence Stedman and Ellen M. Hutchinson in 1889-90, and the Library of Southern Literature (1908–13), compiled by various Southern men of letters, have been indispensable.
We regret that ill health has deprived us of the collaboration of Professor George E. Woodberry, to whose taste and judgment all students of American literature are deeply indebted; and that the pressure of his military duties keeps M. Léon Bazalgette from appearing among our contributors, as was originally planned. For many details of the work we owe much to the unsparing assistance of Mrs. Carl Van Doren, who has prepared the index. 1 June, 1917.
By GEORGE PARKER WINSHIP, A.M., Librarian of the
Harry Elkins Widener Collection, Harvard University.
The Earliest Adventurers. Captain John Smith. Newfoundland. Will-
iam Vaughn. Robert Hayman. Robert Sedgwick. Pamphlets of
By ELIZABETH CHRISTINE COOK, Ph.D., Instructor in
English in Teachers College, Columbia University.
Literature in the Colonial Newspapers. The New England Courant. The
New England Weekly Journal. Franklin as Journalist. Advertise-