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This first book in formal English composition is designed to furnish material for a two-year course ; it may be followed by a rhetoric of the conventional type, or, better still, by additional work on the collection and organization of material for expression in long themes and by a study of the more essential rhetorical principles. The chief difference between this book and others is its emphasis on the qualities of good composition rather than on the four conventional types, and its treatment of these qualities in a natural and teachable order. By the continuous emphasis on sincerity, definiteness, and the other essential qualities — since these, while separable in thought, are not mutually exclusive — there is sought a cumulative effect, which cannot fail to modify the habits of pupils. Since these prime qualities are treated in this book after a plan carefully arranged and graded in difficulty, the chapters, except, possibly, that on good form, should be taught in their order. The material in the chapter on good form may be distributed among other matters as the teacher sees fit.
The assignments are meant to be definite enough to guide the bewildered but not to confine the adventurous. They will be found especially to emphasize practical writing; for example, letters, which are treated with unusual fullness. The highly ingenious teacher who can successfully carry on work in the production of artistic literature, such as original stories, poems, and plays, needs no prescribed exercises, but he will find a sound basis for such composition in the chapters of
this book, particularly in those on definiteness and variety. Suggestive material for models is chosen from the themes of pupils and from literature that is within the range of the pupils' best reading. Generally some definite study of these models is outlined, so that the point of the illustration may be felt. The class discussion of this illustrative material thus furnishes additional opportunity for valuable work in oral composition.
Grateful acknowledgment is made for helpful suggestions from Mr. Allan Abbott, of the Horace Mann High School ; Professor Franklin T. Baker, of Teachers College, Columbia University; Mrs. Fausta F. Barr, of the Mattoon Illinois, High School; Mr. Samuel M. North, of the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute ; Mr. Edgar D. Randolph, of the Colorado State Teachers College ; Mr. Benjamin A. Heydrick, High School of Commerce, New York; and Professor James F. Royster, of the University of North Carolina.
Acknowledgment is also due to the following publishers, who have very kindly permitted the use of copyright matter : D. Appleton and Company, the Thomas Y. Crowell Company, the George H. Doran Company, Doubleday, Page and Company, D. C. Heath and Company, Henry Holt and Company, the John Lane Company, Little, Brown and Company, L. C. Page and Company, the Macmillan Company, and Thomas B. Mosher. The selections from Burroughs, Emerson, Fiske, Higginson, Holmes, Palmer, Robinson, and Whittier are used by permission of, and by special arrangement with, the Houghton Mifflin Company.
T. H. B.