The wide use of the author's History of English Literature, the favor with which it has been received in all
parts of the United States, and the number of earnest requests for a History of American Literature on the
same plan, have led to the writing of this book. It has not appeared sooner because the author has followed his
rule of making a careful first-hand study, not only of all the matter discussed, but also of a far greater amount,
which, although it must be omitted from a condensed textbook, is, nevertheless, necessary as a background for
judgment and selection....