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PREFACE.

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

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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 of chaos, reduced the lawless and inharmonious French muse of earlier times to established rules, and made a mark upon the literary character of his age, which was at once acknowledged by the authors of his own time, and is felt with equal force to-day, after the lapse of more than two hundred years,

and, like Part I., coming down to our own times, closes with some specimens of the poetry of the renowned critic Sainte-Beuve.

Part III. contains a brief treatise on French Versification, chiefly translated from a recent work by Quicherat, containing, it is believed, as full a statement of this subject as will be of especial interest to the American student.

The Notes which follow are chiefly critical and explanatory, referring to such cases only of grammatical structure as may present some difficulty to one who has made considerable progress in the study of the language. Many of the notes on Part II. refer to the treatise on Versification in Part III., as it is believed that the attention of the student can thus best be directed to this interesting, though much neglected, portion of instruction in French.

In the preparation of this volume, free use has been made of the various materials at the author's command, collected during a residence of some months in France. While many of the selections have been taken directly from the original sources, and have not heretofore appeared in any similar work, so far as the author is aware, it is equally true that many of the articles have been selected by other compilers, and by long usage in the schools of France, and to some extent in this country, have received the seal of public approbation. It is indeed quite obvious that a selection carefully made from the best authors, with a view to the exclusion of every article selected by others, can be, at best, but a second-rate collection. The articles not directly derived from the original sources are chiefly taken from a valuable series of Readers by M. Léon Feugère, late Professor of Rhetoric in the Imperial Lycées of Napoléon and Louis-le-Grand, a series highly recommended by the French Minister of Public Instruction, and generally used in the public schools under his jurisdiction; from a varied and most excellent selection from ancient and modern French writers, made by Boniface, entitled “Une lecture par

jour;from the standard work of Noël and de La Place, Leçons françaises de Littérature et de Morale," and an occasional article from sources of lesser note.

The Notices of the Authors are chiefly from Feugère, Boniface, and Bescherelle; from Michaud's “Biographie Universelle;" Dr. Hoeffer's “ Nouvelle Biographie générale;" Vapereau's “Biographie des Contemporains," and the various volumes of his “Année Littéraire.

As everything in this volume is taken from works printed in France, and nothing from reprints of French works which have appeared in this country, one fruitful source of typographical errors has been avoided ; and for the accuracy of the work the author is further indebted to his friends, Francis Gardner, LL.D., head master, and A. M. Gay, A. M., master of the Public Latin School of the city of Boston, M. P. Morand, Professor of French in the Latin School and in the Girls' High and Normal School of the same city, Professor A. H. Mixer, of Rochester University, and Professor Clement L. Smith, of this institution, all of whom have kindly offered their services to examine the plate-proofs before going to press.

SWARTHMORE COLLEGE, PA., Nov. 4, 1869.

CONTENTS.

ᏢᎪᎡᎢ Ꭵ.

SELECTIONS IN PROSE.

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