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Kentucky in American Letters, v. 1 of 2

KENTUCKY IN AMERICAN LETTERS

OTHER WORKS BY MR. TOWNSEND

_Richard Hickman Menefee_. 1907 _Kentuckians in History and Literature_. 1907 _The Life of James Francis Leonard_. 1909 _Kentucky: Mother of Governors_. 1910 _Lore of the Meadowland_. 1911

KENTUCKY IN AMERICAN LETTERS

1784-1912

BY JOHN WILSON TOWNSEND

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY JAMES LANE ALLEN

IN TWO VOLUMES VOL. I

THE TORCH PRESS CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA NINETEEN THIRTEEN

_Of this edition one thousand sets have been printed, of which this is number_

241

COPYRIGHT 1913 BY THE TORCH PRESS PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 1913

[Illustration: (Printers' Union Logo)]

To My Mother

INTRODUCTION

Mr. Townsend's fellow countrymen must feel themselves to be put under a beautiful obligation to him by his work entitled _Kentucky in American Letters_. He has thus fenced off for the lovers of New World literature a well watered bluegrass pasture of prose and verse, which they may enter and range through according to their appetites for its peculiar green provender and their thirst for the limestone spring. This strip of pasture is a hundred years long; its breadth may not be politely questioned!

For the backward-looking and for the forward-looking students of American literature, not its merely browsing readers, he has wrought a service of larger and more lasting account. Whether his patiently done and richly crowned work be the first of its class and kind, there is slight need to consider here: fitly enough it might be a pioneer, a path-blazer, as coming from the land of pioneers, path-blazers.

But whether or not other works of like character be already in the field of national observation, it is inevitable that many others soon will be. There must in time and in the natural course of events come about a complete marshalling of the American commonwealths, especially of the older American commonwealths, attended each by its women and men of letters; with the final result that the entire pageant of our literary creativeness as a people will thus be exhibited and reviewed within those barriers and divisions, which from the beginning have constituted the peculiar genius of our civilization.

When this has been done, when the States have severally made their profoundly significant showing, when the evidence up to some century mark or half-century mark is all presented, then for the first time we, as a reading and thoughtful self-studying people, may for the first time be advanced to the position of beginning to understand what as a whole our cis-Atlantic branch of English literature really is.


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