A Brief History of English and American Literature cover

A Brief History of English and American Literature

Henry A. Beers

1. 00 – Introduction, Preface
2. 01 – Part 1, Chapter I – From the Conquest to Chaucer, 1066-1400
3. 02 – Part 1, Chapter II – From Chaucer to Spenser, 1400-1599
4. 03 – Part 1, Chapter III – The Age of Shakspere, 1564-1616
5. 04 – Part 1, Chapter IV – The Age of Milton, 1608-1674
6. 05 – Part 1, Chapter V – From the Restoration to the Death of Pope, 1660-1744
7. 06 – Part 1, Chapter VI – From the Death of Pope to the French Revolution, 1744-1789
8. 07 – Part 1, Chapter VII – From the French Revolution to the Death of Scott, 1789-1832
9. 08 – Part 1, Chapter VIII – From the Death of Scott to the Present Time, 1832-1886
10. 09 – Part 1, Chapter IX – Theological and Religious Literature in Great Britain
11. 10 – Part 2, Preface & Chapter I – The Colonial Period, 1607-1765
12. 11 – Part 2, Chapter II – The Revolutionary Period, 1765-1815
13. 12 – Part 2, Chapter III – The Era of National Expansion, 1815-1837
14. 13 – Part 2, Chapter IV – The Concord Writers, 1837-1861
15. 14 – Part 2, Chapter V – The Cambridge Scholars, 1837-1861
16. 15 – Part 2, Chapter VI – Literature in the Cities, 1837-1861
17. 16 – Part 2, Chapter VII – Literature since 1861
18. 17 – Part 2, Chapter VIII – Theological and Religious Literature in America

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Summary

Henry Augustin Beers (1847-?), native of Buffalo, NY and professor of English at Yale, with the help of John Fletcher Hurst (1834-1903), Methodist bishop and first Chancellor of American University, has written a sweeping thousand 900 year history of English literature, up to the end of the 19th century. Although at times biased and sometimes misguided (as when he dismisses Mark Twain as a humorist noteworthy in his time but not for the ages), his research is sound and his criticism is interesting and quite often very balanced. In addition, the last chapter of each part is Hurst’s synopsis of religious and theological literature in the language. This book is interesting for its point of view, but also useful as a jumping-off point for those interested in reading the classics.

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