About the BookThe book presents the history of English literature from Anglo-Saxon times to the close of the Victorian Era. It aims to create in every student the desire to read the best books in literature, and to know literature itself rather than what has been written about literature. It interprets literature both personally and historically and shows how a great book generally reflects not only the author’s life and thought but also the spirit of the age in which he lived. By means of a study of each successive period, it attempts to show how English literature has steadily developed from its first simple songs and stories to its present complexity in prose and poetry.
The book provides an accurate summary of historical events and social conditions in each period; a study of the various literary epochs, in turn, showing what each gained from the preceding epoch, and how each aided in the development of a national literature; and an accessible biography of every important writer, showing how he lived and worked, how he met success or failure, how he influenced his age, and how his age influenced him. It also gives an analysis of every author’s best works, and of many of the books required for college-entrance examinations; and a discussion of each great writer’s work as a whole, and a critical estimate of his relative place in, and influence on English literature.
The rich content of the book, and lucid expression of William J. Long have made it a classic in English literature. It will be useful for the students and teachers of English literature, particularly history of English literature and researchers in these fields. About the Author/sWILLIA M J. LONG , an American writer, naturalist and minister, was born in 1866. He loved
solitude and would leave Sanford to travel to “the wilderness” of Maine every Marchwith his two
daughters Lois Long and Cesca. There they would stay until the first snows of October, although
sometimes he would stay all winter. In the 1920s, he began spending his summers in Nova Scotia,
claiming as the wilderness according to him “was getting too crowded".
These wilderness experiences provided him material and background for his books, Ways of Wood Folk,
Wilderness Ways, Wood-folk Comedies, Northern Trails, and Wood Folk at School. Some of his earlier
books included illustrations by Charles Copeland, while two later ones contained illustrations by
Charles Livingston Bull.
As a reaction to industrial revolution, public interest in the natural world was increasing. Long's
books, rich in the wilderness, as they were, found a large audience, and were even issued in
schools under the title of The Wood Folk Series. His findings and observations however were at
variance with the prevailing scientific wisdom of animal behavior. Long is said to have provided
many examples, supposedly from his experience, to cast doubt on that prevailing wisdom, which
raised some controversies. He was criticized for anthropomorphizing animal behavior, blurring the
lines between the animal world and humans.
Long also wrote English Literature which presents the whole splendid history of English literature
from Anglo-Saxon times to
the close of the Victorian Era.