« PreviousContinue »
JOHN COLIN DUNLOP
A NEW EDITION REVISED WITH NOTES
APPENDICES AND INDEX
GEORGE BELL AND SONS
TO THE PRESENT EDITION.
HE value of Dunlop's “History of Fiction,” now again,
after a long lapse of years, placed within reach of the English reader, needs no demonstration ; it is amply attested by the numerous quotations from and references to it in all works, even of the most recent date, upon the history of imaginative literature. The explorations in the field of the genesis and genealogy of fiction have, indeed, recently attained such extensive development that probably no single writer could now be found bold enough to review such a vast domain as forms the scope of Dunlop's undertaking
Writing at a period when comparatively little had been done in the ground he occupied, Dunlop was sensible of the magnitude of his task, and found it expedient to keep it within practicable compass by confining his attention to works in prose—a limitation, however, as need hardly be said, altogether artificial in tracing the evolutions of fictive composition, which passes, according to certain social conditions and by laws which might almost be determined, from verse to prose, and again from the latter to the metrical form.
In the domain of letters, as of material industries, increase of labour begets its subdivision and specialization. Investigations into the history of fictive literature while they have recently been prosecuted with so much learning
and activity have become limited to the works of a single nation, school or period, or even to a particular theme.
The endeavour of the editor has accordingly been not so much to incorporate the results of recent research in the present edition, a plan which would have swelled it beyond measure, as to shew the direction of such researches, and indicate where they may be followed further in connection with the subjects handled by Dunlop, and, as it were, sailing in his wake down the main current of imaginative literature, point out, as far as may be, the course and the recent surveys, by which the numerous affluents to the stream of fiction may be traced towards their sources.
Dunlop's text has been retained almost intact, with th exception of the article on the Graal romance, which th labours of M. Paulin Paris, M. Hucher, Professor Schulz and
many other savants, rendered it necessary to re-write The valuable notes to F. Liebrecht's German translatio of the work have been incorporated with the notes t the present edition, and are usually acknowledged by th syllable : LIEB.
For a few notes the editor is indebted to Mr. Heni Jenner These are subscribed H. J.
Dunlop scarcely even mentions the literature of sever: northern countries. This omission, it is hoped, is here some extent remedied by appendices on prose fiction Germany, Scandinavia and Russia, which additions, hor ever, it was necessary to restrict to the most exiguo limits.
For the rest, Dunlop's judgments and criticism are f the most part sound, and therefore of permanent valu his style is excellent, and the original text as full of i terest as ever, while, it is hoped, that the copious not and index now added, will prove useful to the student.