free ebooks
A History of French Literature by Edward Dowden

Produced by Ron Swanson

Short Histories of the Literatures of the World: II. Edited by Edmund Gosse

A History of FRENCH LITERATURE

BY

EDWARD DOWDEN D.LITT., LL.D. (DUB.), D.C.L. (OXON.), LL.D. (EDIN.) LL.D. (PRINCETON) PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE IN THE UNIVERSITY OF DUBLIN

London WILLIAM HEINEMANN MCMXIV

_First Edition_, 1897 _New Impressions_, 1899, 1904, 1907, 1911, 1914

_Copyright, London_ 1897, _by William Heinemann_

PREFACE

French prose and French poetry had interested me during so many years that when Mr. Gosse invited me to write this book I knew that I was qualified in one particular--the love of my subject. Qualified in knowledge I was not, and could not be. No one can pretend to know the whole of a vast literature. He may have opened many books and turned many pages; he cannot have penetrated to the soul of all books from the _Song of Roland_ to _Toute la Lyre_. Without reaching its spirit, to read a book is little more than to amuse the eye with printed type.

An adequate history of a great literature can be written only by collaboration. Professor Petit de Julleville, in the excellent _Histoire de la Langue et de la Litterature Francaise_, at present in process of publication, has his well-instructed specialist for each chapter. In this small volume I too, while constantly exercising my own judgment, have had my collaborators--the ablest and most learned students of French literature--who have written each a part of my book, while somehow it seems that I have written the whole. My collaborators are on my shelves. Without them I could not have accomplished my task; here I give them credit for their assistance. Some have written general histories of French literature; some have written histories of periods--the Middle Ages, the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth centuries; some have studied special literary fields or forms--the novel, the drama, tragedy, comedy, lyrical poetry, history, philosophy; many have written monographs on great authors; many have written short critical studies of books or groups of books. I have accepted from each a gift. But my assistants needed to be controlled; they brought me twenty thousand pages, and that was too much. Some were accurate in statement of fact, but lacked ideas; some had ideas, but disregarded accuracy of statement; some unjustly depreciated the seventeenth century, some the eighteenth. For my purposes their work had to be rewritten; and so it happens that this book is mine as well as theirs.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us