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By MARY E. LITCHFIELD
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The Athenæum Press
SIR ROGER de Coverley is not a hero of romance; he is, to all intents and purposes, an actual country gentleman who lived in England in the days of Queen Anne; and the Introduction and Notes in this volume are intended to help the reader go back in imagination to the early years of the eighteenth century. The Spectator has been considered in its relation to contemporary movements in literature and politics, since it is in a peculiar sense the product of the age in which it was written. It is hoped that the student may find in the English of the essays, with its few old forms, an easy and pleasant introduction to the more difficult language of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The text as revised by the authors has been followed, except in the matter of spelling and punctuation. Everything relating to Sir Roger that might properly be included has been given, even to brief notices in articles dealing with outside matters. These chance allusions help to make the hero a living character. Henry Morley's edition of the Spectator and the two recent editions by George A. Aitken and by G. Gregory Smith have been frequently consulted. Many of the other books used are referred to in the Notes and the Suggestions. The Notes afford necessary information
in regard to persons, events, and customs. Occasionally old or peculiar forms in language are commented on, but in general a note is inserted only in cases where the meaning is not clear. The translations of the mottoes have been furnished in most instances by Miss Mary H. Buckingham, and valuable help in the way of criticism has been given by others.
BOSTON, December, 1898.