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ALBERT S. COOK,
Professor Of The English Language And Literature
C. J. Peters & Son, Typographers.
The purpose of this edition is to promote the enjoyment of Milton's poetry through study of a selection which, by its excellence of every sort, will reward prolonged attention. Through study, not through mere reading; for the editor does not share the opinion of those who hold that the study of the best literature is fatal to enjoyment. 'All men,' says Aristotle — and we shall hardly find a more competent judge — ' all men by nature desire to know.' If the appetite for knowledge is inborn in every human being, study, which is the process of acquiring knowledge, can only be distasteful when it has artificially been rendered so. There are those who concede this in general, who yet make an exception of literature; but it is difficult to see why the highest form of expression of which the human soul is capable should less repay study by enjoyment than the grass of the field or the rocks of the mine. On this point I am glad to find myself in substantial accord with that veteran and universally respected teacher of English, Professor Marsh, of Lafayette College. He believes, as I also do, in the more rapid reading of certain books, especially during the elementary stages of an English course, according to a method that he suggests in The Independent for August 4, 1802. He says, among other things: 'The teacher may have select passages read in class, read them or have them read with care