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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855,
BY A. S. BARNES & CO.,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
BY THE AMERICAN EDITOR,
THE work of LORD KAMES, on Criticism, was first published in 1761, and dedicated to George III., then King of Great Britain. The royal patronage was solicited in its behalf, on the ground that it treats of the Fine Arts, which exert a beneficial influence in society, and that it attempts to form a standard of taste, by unfolding those principles that ought to govern the taste of every individual.
In showing the importance of such an attempt, he says: "It is rare to find one born with such delicacy of feeling, as not to need instruction: it is equally rare to find one so low in feeling, as not to be capable of instruction. And yet, to refine our taste with respect to beauties of art or of nature, is scarce endeavored in any seminary of learning; a lamentable defect, considering how early in life taste is susceptible of culture, and how difficult to reform it if unhappily perverted. To furnish materials for supplying that defect, was an additional motive for the present undertaking."
To Lord Kames we are greatly indebted for calling public attention to this subject, and for preparing a work that has long occupied a place in the colleges and academies of our own land. There seems to be no other work, even at this date, that is fitted to supply its place, nor, without great disadvantage to the cause of education, can it be laid aside; and yet, neither in its original form, nor with such additions as have been made, in this country, to the original work, is it free from some grave objections,
that have served, in many instances, to prevent its adop tion as a text-book, especially in female seminaries.
Hence some retrenchment becomes necessary to the highest usefulness of the work: and it will not be doubted that it may receive great improvement, by additions which may be made from the works of distinguished authors, who have written with great power and exquisite taste upon many of the topics treated by our author nearly a hundred years ago.
These views, upon inquiry, having been found to agree with those of not a few enlightened and experienced teachers, the Editor has been prompted to expend a large amount of labor, for the improvement of the work of Lord Kames, that its usefulness may be increased and perpetuated in colleges and other seminaries of learning, as well as in public and private libraries.
The chief points of superiority claimed for the present edition, are the following:
1. The matter heretofore contained in an Appendix has been brought forward; and constitutes, as it should, the first part of the Introduction, being needed as a preparation for an easy study of the volume, and likely to be overlooked as an appendix.
2. Frequent omissions have been made in the text and notes, where the matter was found to be either obsolete, of no utility, or objectionable on account of its indelicacy.
3. Many of the poetical quotations (particularly some of those in foreign languages), that seemed to be an incumbrance rather than an advantage to the work for purposes of education, have been abbreviated or omitted.
4. Space has thus been gained for a large amount of valuable matter, which has been carefully selected from modern authors who have treated certain topics more philosophically and accurately than Lord Kames, whose work was written nearly a century ago. These additions,
both in the text and notes, that they may readily be distinguished from the original matter, have been inclosed in brackets. The most important of these are derived from Cousin on the Beautiful; from Lectures of Barron, Hazlitt, and President Hopkins; from Lord Jeffrey's celebrated dissertation on Beauty (in his Review of Alison on Taste); and from an elaborate essay on the Philosophy of Style, contained in a somewhat recent number of the Westminster Review. By these, and numerous other additions, where they seemed to be most needed, great value has been added to the original work; and in scarcely a less degree, by striking from it a large amount of matter that greatly impairs its excellence and usefulness.
5. It may also be stated, as a part of the Editor's labor, that he has prepared a new Analysis of the work, which, for the convenience both of teacher and student, has been distributed at the bottom of each page, with references to the paragraphs in which the topics are discussed.
It will be seen, therefore, that the present volume is not an abridgment of Kames, but it embraces the entire work, with the exception only of those portions which every instructor and intelligent reader must regard as blemishes, or consider useless, while large additions have been made, from recent and valuable sources, to render more complete and satisfactory the incomparable treatise (as here presented) of this highly talented, and justly dis tinguished and popular author. J. R. B.
GENEVA, N. Y., Feb. 2, 955.