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This book is intended primarily for use in secondary schools and colleges, but may perhaps be of some interest to the general reading public. Its readers are therefore likely to be of various ages and to differ widely in their previous training. So far as the general reading public is concerned, since each person will use the book as he thinks best, no advice from me is required; but a few words concerning its use in schools and colleges may not be out of place.
The book contains little or nothing which should not be familiar to every educated man and woman. The college student should therefore be expected to use it all, though more time should of course be spent in the study of the chapters on the greatest writers than in learning about the authors of less importance. The pupil in the secondary school, however, may not always have the time to pay any attention to the less important Greek authors. It may therefore be in many instances desirable to stop the classroom use of the book at the end of the Attic period, adding only enough from the later parts to make the pupils acquainted with Theocritus, Callimachus, Apollonius Rhodius (especially if the pupils have read or are to read Virgil), Polybius, Plutarch, and Lucian. In the case of immature pupils, it may be well to omit the chapter on the Homeric Question, and even the chapters on the early prose writers.
Far the greater part of the book is taken up with the history of Greek literature before the Alexandrian period. This is desirable, because the works of the Alexandrian and Roman times are lost for the most part and never possessed the literary importance of the great writings of the earlier days. On the other hand, the writings of the later times are too important to be altogether overlooked. Roman literature was most powerfully influenced by Alexandrian literature, and has in turn exerted a most powerful influence upon the literature of all later times. A summary account of Alexandrian and Græco-Roman literature is therefore included in this book, in the belief that our students should not be allowed to forget that Greek life and thought con. tinued to influence the world long after the political independence of Greece came to an end. For a somewhat similar reason to call attention to the influence of Greek thought, Greek education, and Greek writers upon the progress of Christianity-an account of some of the Christian writers has been included.
In the preparation of the book I have made the greatest use of the Histoire de la Littérature Grecque, by the brothers Alfred and Maurice Croiset. The Manuel d'Histoire de la Littérature Grecque, by the same authors, has also been of great service. The Geschichte der Griechischen Litteratur, by Wilhelm Christ, has been especially valuable for the statistical information it contains. All the other general works cited in the Bibliographical Appendix have been consulted, as well as numerous books and special articles not there mentioned. The judgments expressed in regard to the merits and peculiarities of individual writers are based upon my own reading of their works, but the manner of expression has been much influenced by what other historians of Greek literature have said. In the spelling of proper names I have tried to follow the example of the best English writers, and have therefore adopted in most instances the Latin spelling.
The Bibliographical Appendix will, I hope, be found useful. It is by no means exhaustive, but may serve as a guide to those who have not access to libraries. The purpose of the Chronological Appendix is not so much to serve as a finding-list of dates as to show at a glance what authors were living and working at any given time. In the general index the names of all Greek writers mentioned in the book are to be found, together with references to numerous topics and to some of the more important mythological and historical persons. The pronunciation of proper names is marked in the index.