BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle


Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


The Revolt of the Netherlands

Friedrich Schiller


Lady of the Lake

by Sir Walter Scott

Excerpt:

PREFACE.

page v, under the heading "Classics for Children," is given the origin and plan of a series of books intended for the young in our public schools. The series will be well printed in large type, on good paper, and firmly bound, and will be furnished at a price so low as to bring within the reach of every pupil in the land these books, which have hitherto been confined to the homes of those in more favored circumstances.

Scott's writings seem well fitted for children, as the language is simple and graphic, the thought healthful and invigorating, and the events narrated based so largely on real life as to tend to create an interest in historical studies. This poem, with its beautiful descriptions of scenery, its vivid pictures of life, and the charming melody of its rhythm is especially well suited to interest the young.

It has been urged against the use of Shakespeare, Scott, and such writers, in the grammar grades, that it will interfere with the course in the high school, where these authors are studied. If only one out of twenty-five ever reaches the high school, and the twenty-four can read these authors to advantage in the lower grades, would it not be wise to remodel the entire course of study in such a way as to secure the greatest good to the greatest number?

Should it seem to some that too many simple words have been defined, it must be borne in mind that the majority of children, nine years of age, attending public schools, have read almost nothing, and are not supplied with dictionaries. We have found it very difficult to define certain words concisely, in language sufficiently simple to be within the comprehension of young children.

It has been our aim to give the child, having no other sources of information, such help as would enable him to read this poem intelligently, and we count ourselves especially fortunate in being able to draw so largely from Scott's own writings.

In abridging and quoting from Scott and other writers, we have used their own language without change as far as possible, thinking it better to retain the original vigorous expression, at the risk sometimes of its being a little abrupt, than to restate the thought less forcibly in a smoother connection of sentences.

"We regret that no more space could be allowed for the biography, but we trust enough has been given to lead the pupil to read Lockhart's complete biography of Scott. Great as he appears in his works, his real grandeur is shown in his quiet, unassuming life, in his unselfish devotion to the comforts of others, and in his heroic struggle, when crippled with disease, against adverse fortune.

It is recommended that pupils read the historical sketch about the Highlands and James V., page xli, before and after reading the poem.

It is hoped that others with more leisure and ampler resources may carry on the work.

We have availed ourselves, by permission, of Mr. Rolfe's carefully-restored text of the poem.

E. G.

CLASSICS FOR CHILDREN.

present volume forms one of a series of standard T works, to be edited for the use of children between the ages of nine and fifteen in the Public Schools. It was suggested by seeing the result of setting children of nine and eleven years to reading The Lady Of The Lake. They soon became so much interested in it that they began not only to read with greater ease, but voluntarily committed to memory large portions of the poem.

This result led to making numerous inquiries of thoughtful men and women, in various walks of life, in regard to their early reading. The evidence thus gained shows that children are capable of enjoying good books at an early age, and the chances of forming in them a taste for good literature are then much better than at a later period.

In order that this course of reading might be removed still further from an experimental basis, a list of questions about the works of standard authors was sent to leading men in the various professions, from whom many valuable answers, suggestions, and offers of assistance have been received. The kind of matter having been decided on, the next thing to be considered was the editorial work. It seems best, as far as practicable, to publish complete works; but some, like Scott's novels, contain much matter beyond the years of the children for whom the books are designed, besides being too bulky for our purpose. Though it is not an easy task to abridge Scott, we are fortunate in finding a person equal to it, as Miss Yonge's Quentin Durward shows.


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