AS anthologies of three famous authors, these little volumes are as complete as price will allow. The selections have been made by college professors who are interested in showing the best, or most typical, portions of the works of each man. The purpose of this series, of which these are the eighth, ninth, and tenth numbers, is to divorce the study of American literature from the usual survey according to periods and to consider the work of individuals as contributing toward a whole.
This purpose is accomplished with sufficient success to satisfy those who are content with a gentleman's knowledge of the subject, and the volumes are also handy as ready references for those quotes which make theses sound erudite. The introductions have been written carefully and cover, however briefly, all the biographical and psychological background necessary to understand the work of the authors.
Especially interesting and fair is the analysis of Mark Twain which is slightly more thorough than the others and is written in an easy, flowing manner. The authors of the volume on Poe have attempted a rather heavy philosophical introduction to the work of their protagonist but have made a sincere effort to treat him fairly--and shield him from the frequent adverse criticism which has so often been hurled at him. We were however, a little disappointed, at the introduction to "William Cullen Bryant" which fails, as all introductions to the works of the Prodigy of Cummington fail, to show that he wrote any superior poetry except for the immortal "Thanatopsis."