Tales and Novels — Volume 01 cover

Tales and Novels — Volume 01

Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849)

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E text prepared by Anne Folland, Jonathan Ingram, Mary Meehan, and the Online Distributed Proofreading TeamTALES AND NOVELS, VOLUME IMORAL TALESBYMARIA EDGEWORTH PREFACE.It has been somewhere said by Johnson, that merely to invent a story is no small effort of the human understanding. How much more difficult is it to construct stories suited to the early years of youth, and, at the same time, conformable to the complicate relations of modern society fictions, that shall display examples of virtue, without initiating the young reader into the ways of vice narratives, written in a style level to his capacity, without tedious detail, or vulgar idiom! The author, sensible of these difficulties, solicits indulgence for such errors as have escaped her vigilance.In a former work the author has endeavoured to add something to the increasing stock of innocent amusement and early instruction, which the laudable exertions of some excellent modern writers provide for the rising generation; and, in the present, an attempt is made to provide for young people, of a more advanced age, a few Tales, that shall neither dissipate the attention, nor inflame the imagination.In a work upon education, which the public has been pleased to notice, we have endeavoured to show that, under proper management, amusement and instruction may accompany each other through many paths of literature; whilst, at the same time, we have disclaimed and reprehended all attempts to teach in play. Steady, untired attention is what alone produces excellence. Sir Isaac Newton, with as much truth as modesty, attributed to this faculty those discoveries in science, which brought the heavens within the grasp of man, and weighed the earth in a balance. To inure the mind to athletic vigour is one of the chief objects of good education; and we have found, as far as our limited experience has extended, that short and active exertions, interspersed with frequent agreeable relaxation, form the mind to strength and endurance, better than long continued feeble study...