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By Sir HENRY NEWBOLT, D.Litt., F.R.S.L.
LITERARY effort is by nature individualistic, and the transactions of a literary society in any single year might well seem to be an almost fortuitous collection. If six members out of two hundred write each upon the subject that pleases him, it will be difficult to ensure that their work shall be in any way focussed. But if the society exists for definite objects and has a definite policy of its own, it is possible that the contributions of those who address it in turn may be truly representative, each of a single aspect of its work and all together of the whole. This is certainly the case with the addresses contained in the present volume. They are diverse because they are the product of diverse minds, but they have a unity because they represent the definite activities for which our fellowship was created. These are the criticism and exposition of the English classics, the historical study of foreign literatures, the criticism of modern literature at home and abroad, and the philosophical study of literature and its place in human society. The writers before us have each traversed one of these regions.
Prof. Mackail needs no introduction to English readers. He has written with equal distinction of