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AN ADVANCED FRENCH READER;
SELECTIONS FROM THE PRINCIPAL CLASSICAL FRENCH POETS AND PROSE
THE AGE OF LOUIS XIV. TO THE PRESENT DAY, WITH
PROFESSOR OF ANCIENT AND MODERN LANGUAGES IN SWARTHMORE COLLEGE, PA.
FRENCH READER," ETC., ETC.
51, 53, & 55 JOHN STREET.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by
EDWARD H. MAGILL,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
Electrotyped at the Boston Stereotype Foundry,
No. 19 Spring Lane.
This volume of selections has been prepared as a sequel to the author's “Introductory French Reader." As it is more especially designed for the use of pupils who have made considerable progress in the study of the French language, no attempt has been made to adopt a progressive arrangement, either with reference to the nature of the subjects treated, or the difficulties which the style presents ; it was deemed of more importance to introduce the authors in chronological order, that the introductory notices and the selections might together form a brief outline of the history of French literature during the past two hundred years.
Many excellent teachers have of late adopted the practice, when giving instruction in a foreign tongue, of introducing the pupils, very early in their course, to the study of some entire work of a single author, instead of a compilation of selections from various sources, like the present course which cannot be too strongly deprecated. What judicious teacher would adopt such a method in giving instruction in his own language? Think of rejecting our excellent school Readers, — which present us choice specimens of English
prose and poetry, to which we always revert in after life with the greatest pleasure, and which have doubtless served, however unconsciously to ourselves, as models upon which
we have formed our style, — and introducing our children at once into a consecutive work of Lowell or Longfellow, of Macaulay or Walter Scott, after passing safely through the mazes of the Primer, the Speller, and the Primary Reader ! No one would, for a moment, defend such a course in teaching English; and yet, so superficially are the foreign modern languages frequently taught in our schools and colleges, that the ability to make out the meaning of an author by a painfully literal translation of the words which he employs is deemed quite sufficient; and hence the course of training which all admit to be absolutely necessary for a proper understanding and appreciation of our native authors, is but too frequently, in the study of French and German, entirely omitted. As the importance of studying these languages is more widely felt, as it must be, and that not merely as an accomplishment, and an imperfect means of conveying a few commonplace ideas, and holding a broken conversation upon ordinary topics, but as a means of thorough intellectual discipline, scarcely second to that afforded by the ancient classics, the demand for the best selections, such as will most thoroughly train the pupils in the idiomatic usages and complete understanding of the languages in question, as well as render them familiar with the treasures of their literature, must continue to increase.
PART I. of the present volume is devoted to Selections in Prose, beginning with Balzac, one of the earliest French authors who wrote his native tongue in its purity, and who is justly regarded as the father and founder of modern French prose literature, and ending with extracts from some of the most illustrious French prose writers of our own day.
Part II., containing Selections in Poetry, similarly arranged, begins with Malherbe, — who first, bringing order out