An Introductory Study of World LiteratureLiterature of the World. William L. Richardson , Jesse M. Owen

W. F. Bryan
1922 The School Review  
An introductory study of world literature.-The scope and general character of a recent volume entitled Literature of the World' can perhaps best be presented through a somewhat full excerpt from the Preface: It has not been our purpose to furnish an inclusive and detailed compendium of literature nor to enter any of the numerous by-paths of literary criticism. Our aim has been rather to present in straightforward language a brief study of the literature of each of the major nations. We give in
more » ... eneral the accepted judgments. We indicate the main currents, devote some attention to all writers of real consequence, and offer relatively full studies of authors who are recognized as the great figures in literature. In short, the book contains what we deem to be the essential facts that everyone should know about the literature of the world. Our observation has been that a person who may be well informed regarding the chief writers of England and America, for instance, has all too frequently only a vague impression of the literature of-let us say-Italy and Spain, or of Russia and Scandinavia. He may specialize in one direction, but show astonishing ignorance of the field of letters as a whole. We hope, therefore, that this general outline of literature in one volume-the first of its kind, so far as we know-may serve a useful purpose. Generally speaking, each chapter gives the historical background, some information about matters of language and racial connection, and an indication of the outstanding characteristics of the people. Then follows a chronological survey of the literature. Extracts from the works studied are occasionally included where these will serve to elucidate the text, but it is obvious that this element must be comparatively slight in a volume of such proportions as this. At the close of each chapter is appended a reference list of easily obtainable works in history, literature, and criticism. Since the impulse of the book is to encourage the reader to investigate the literature itself, good editions and translations of the classics are cited. Topics for special study are suggested as well. As these paragraphs from the Preface suggest, this volume is not primarily a study of literary movements and relationships, though a great deal of information about these aspects of literature is given incidentally. It is essentially a guide to the study of the greater writers and writings, conveniently grouped according to race or nationality. It is a work, too, of readers endowed with
doi:10.1086/437639 fatcat:lx6i3b2m6ndipiquddytclclya