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This end is sought to be accomplished by a careful analysis of the selections by means of questions. These questions may be considered as of three kinds:
1. Questions on the general scope of the piece and on the meaning of clauses and sentences;
2. Questions on the etymology and meaning of words; 3. Questions on the emphases, inflections, quality of voice, &c., required to express the ascertained thought and emotion.
For the purpose of illustrating this, six of the selections, representing as many different classes of composition, are analyzed at length in the book. The questions in these analyses, although somewhat minute, are yet by no means exhaustive. They are intended to indicate the kind, rather than the extent, of the work which the teacher is to do.
The selections in the book have been made with great care, and are believed to be well adapted to their purpose. Many of them are marked by high excellence as literary productions; many breathe a spirit of lofty patriotism; many are fitted to charm by their beauty; some are calculated to amuse while they instruct; and all, it is thought, are within the pale of good taste. Some are well known, and are inserted on account of their unwaning merit; many are new and not at all inferior to the older and better known.
Copious notes are appended, which will be found useful in the explanation of biographical, historical, and other allusions. They have been written with care, and aim to give, in a small compass, as much as possible of what is worth remembering. Where access can be had to reference books, these notes may be extended by the pupil. Or the teacher may impart additional information on the subjects of them, -provided the pupils are required to remember and reproduce what is thus imparted.
The article on the phonic analysis of the language is believed to be more thorough, accurate, and philosophical than articles on that subject usually are. And the compiler takes pleasure in accrediting it to Professor Thomas Metcalf, of the Illinois Normal University, whose assistance, in the preparation of that article and in a careful reading of the proof-sheets, has been of great value in imparting to the book whatever of merit it has.
The compiler desires to express his acknowledgments to various authors and publishing firms for the permission, kindly granted, to make selections from their works. Among these there is especial reason for mentioning William Cullen Bryant, G. P. Putnam and Charles Scribner, of New York; George W. Childs, of Philadelphia; O. D. Case & Co., of Hartford; Mrs. Mary Mann, of Cambridge; and Ticknor & Fields, Crosby & Ainsworth, and Gould & Lincoln, of Boston.
.H. W. Longfellow..