The following chapters were originally delivered as public lectures at Johns Hopkins University, in the winter and spring of 1881. Had Mr. Lanier lived to prepare them for the press, he would probably have recast them to some extent; but the present editor has not felt free to make any changes from the original manuscript, beyond the omission of a few local and occasional allusions, and the curtailment of several long extracts from well-known writers.
Although each is complete in itself, this work and its foregoer, The Science of English Verse, were intended to be parts of a comprehensive philosophy of formal and substantial beauty in literature, which, unhappily, the author did not live to develop.
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