Excerpt from Elementary German Reader: With Notes and Vocabulary
This book will accordingly be found to contain more easy reading than any other book of its class. Many German Readers begin well enough, but the average pupil's powers of acquisition do not increase in the same... ratio with the increase in difficulty of the selections, and he is, therefore, likely to find the latter part of the book discouragingly difficult and, consequently, uninteresting.
If Lessing's Fables or Grimm's Tales are proper reading for a pupil to-day, it is scarcely probable that he will, in a few weeks, be able to read with profit and enjoyment selections from Humboldt's Kosmos or Kant's Ethics, yet this seems to be the theory of the compilers of some books of this kind. A more rational proceeding would seem to be to have a larger quantity of easy reading, and as the pupil's knowledge increased, he could take longer lessons and so be encouraged by being able to observe his own improvement.
Inasmuch as this book is intended primarily for the school and not for the college, it does not profess to contain specimens of German literature. Like Hamlet, the average beginner reads only words, words, words, and graces of style and even beautiful thoughts are un appreciated on account of the difficulty experienced in getting at the meaning of individual words. A study of these things should be relegated to a later stage of the student's career, after grammar and vocabulary have ceased to require constant attention.
N 0 authors' names are attached to the prose selections, because, in the first place, they have been taken from a great variety of sources, and the original writer was not, in every case, known. In the second place, even in familiar selections, great liberties have sometimes been taken with the text, so that the original author cannot properly be held responsible for what is said or for the manner in which it is said. For most of the historical selections.
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