Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/1186

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Messrs. GEORGE ROUTLEDGE & SONS believe that there is in England a very large public demand for good books. They believe it to be large enough to justify the production of a uniform series of very cheap volumes, advancing, in course of time, towards the realization of a Universal Library that shall contain all the best and most significant books in the world, of all times outside the time of Copyright, and of all countries, so far as such books can be found written in or rendered into English. The Publishers, wish to produce the best books at the cheapest rate — that is to say, in bound and well-printed volumes of 820 pages for a Shilling. The Editor to whom they have looked for aid in working out their purpose shares their faith in the demand for easiest access to all forms of the world's thought, and all forms of opinion that have helped to shape the lives of men. He agrees therefore to be responsible for the selection of books published in this way, and he will issue each of them with a short Introduction, giving some account of its writer and some indica- tion of its place in literature.

In the sequence of these volumes, as first published, there will be only the order in disorder that aims at variety. As they multiply. upon the shelves, they will admit of any classification that most pleases their possessor. There will be in them the best Plays and Poems, the best works of Fiction, the best books of Travel, Histories, Biographies — all that is most characteristic in the speculations of philosophy and of political economy, the books of most mark in the world that seek to define or purify man's sense of his relation towards God. They may be arranged in sequence of time, from Confucius to Coleridge, or grouped into nations, with Homer to head the Greeks, Dante the Italians, Shakespeare the English, and so forth. The series of books is one that should outlive its present Editor, if English readers are really agreed that, for as far as lies within the compass of

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