A Short History of French Literature (Classic Reprint)by George Saintsbury
Those who read this book for purposes of study will, it is hoped, be already acquainted with the Primer which is, in effect, an introduction to it, and which contains what may be called a bird's-eye view of the subject. But, lest the wood should be lost sight of for the trees, notes or interchapters have been
Excerpt from A Short History of French Literature
Those who read this book for purposes of study will, it is hoped, be already acquainted with the Primer which is, in effect, an introduction to it, and which contains what may be called a bird's-eye view of the subject. But, lest the wood should be lost sight of for the trees, notes or interchapters have been inserted between the several books, indicating the general lines of development followed by the great literature which I have attempted to survey. To these I have for the most part confined generalisations as distinct from facts.
I have, I believe, given in the notes a sufficient list of authorities which those who desire to follow up the subject may consult. I have not been indiscriminately lavish in indicating editions of authors, though I believe that full information will be found as to those necessary for a scholarly working knowledge of French literature. I had originally hoped to illustrate the whole book with extracts; but I discovered that such a course would either swell it to an undesirable bulk, or else would provide passages too short and too few to be of much use. I have therefore confined the extracts to the mediæval period, which can be illustrated by selections of moderate bulk, and in which such illustration, from the general resemblance between the individuals of each class, and the comparative rarity of the original texts, is specially desirable. To avoid the serious drawback of the difference of principle on which old French reprints have been constructed, as many of these extracts as possible have been printed from Herr Karl Bartsch's admirable Chrestomathie. But in cases where extracts were either not to be found there, or were not, in my judgment, sufficiently characteristic, I have departed from this plan. The illustration, by extracts, of the later literature, which requires more space, has been reserved for a separate volume.
I had also intended to subjoin some tabular views of the chief literary forms, authors, and books of the successive centuries.
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