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The Study Of Literature
English Literature Of The 19th Century:
 John Richard Green

 Alexander William Kinglake

 Poets Of The Later Victorian Period

 William Morris

 Algernon Charles Swinburne

 Sir Edwin Arnold

 William Watson

 Alfred Austin

 Herbert Spencer

 Henry Drummond

 Read More Articles About: English Literature Of The 19th Century

John Richard Green

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Among the few historians that have the faculty of making history entertaining, Green holds a foremost place. His "Short History of the English People" won more readers than any other work of its class, while its originality obtained credit from the ablest critics. Yet the author had not set out to be an historian, but rather was drawn by circumstances to his task. John Richard Green was born at Oxford in 1837, and educated there without obtaining distinction. On graduating he entered the Church, and in 1865 became Vicar of Stepney in East Lon-don. Holding High Church views, he was active in parochial duty and in charity organization. To eke out his slender income he wrote for the "Saturday Review" articles on historical and social topics, which were after-ward collected as "Stray Studies in England and Italy." Part of them were derived from his winter visits to Italy on account of his delicate lungs. When his health was broken down by parish work, and his former rigid church views abandoned, he retired from active clerical work. Archbishop Tait made him librarian at Lambeth, where Green began his "Short History of the English People." Published in 1874, it was at once received with enthusiasm. His aim was to entertain as well as instruct, to exhibit the life of the people in successive stages rather than recount the doing of Kings and Courts. His vivid, picturesque style brought distant times and places close to view. Some errors in minor particulars evoked criticism, but these were soon corrected. The gratified author then enlarged his work to four volumes (1878-8o), still retaining the methods and style which had given the original popularity. Then he sought to go more deeply into the origin of England's greatness, and in "The Making of England" (1882) treated the early Anglo-Saxion period. This was to be followed by "The Conquest of England," but the work was interrupted by his death at Mentone, Italy, in March, 1883. His wife had faithfully watched over his precarious health, and helped him as amanuensis. Since his death she has superintended special editions of his works. The distinguishing merits of Green's work are his wide human sympathy and his power to make the past real to the imagination. He steadily refrained from injecting into the past the party spirit, political and ecclesiastical, of the present.

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