Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

MEN LIVE AFTER THEIR DEATH,—THEY LIVE NOT ONLY IN THEIR WRITINGS OR THEIR CHRONICLED HISTORY, BUT STILL MORE IN THAT άγραφος μνήμη EXHIBITED IN A SCHOOL OF PUPILS WHO TRACE THEIR MORAL PARENTAGE TO THEM

NEWMAN

PREFACE

Seldom is it the teacher's lot to have any of his work perpetuated in lasting literary form. But Professor Winchester's students will remember how the work in the classroom led up to finished summary lectures. They developed out of the rich autumn mould of his acquisitions, year after year, and showed us best of all how thorough and thoughtful study had enabled him to "see into the life of things.” In these talks to students lay the origins of the public lectures which charmed and enlightened a far more widely ranging audience. Even the latter, Professor Winchester rarely published. Therefore certain typical examples, representative both of his power as a teacher and his appeal as a lecturer, it has now seemed best to give to the world. "Art,” once wrote their author, “is the only way the individual has of perpetuating his personality.” In this way these papers are not alone of intrinsic value but fitly memorial.

Professor Winchester admirably illustrated his own ideal of a critic,—one who could "quicken your feeling for what is essential and characteristic in an author's work.” Hundreds can testify to the success with which he did this in the lecture-room or through the printed page. The range of these essays indicates in some measure the catholicity of his taste and the scope of his powers of literary appreciation. He was always, I think, especially interested in the man behind the book. Interest in character and in the work as an index to character was what led him into a method of criticism pronouncedly biographical. It was because he

*The actual writing of them out Professor Winchester often did very quickly; he told the editor that the Shakespeare lecture he thought his best, the Antony and Cleopatra, was dashed off at one sitting of a single afternoon.

brought so broad and deep and wise an experience of life to his reading that he found so much there. Literature in turn increased his own understanding of human nature, and he made it the means of conveying that knowledge to others. Vivid and dear memories flash into the minds of many

of us as we read these pages. We see that dignified figure come quietly into the crowded lecture-hall to make Shakespeare or Wordsworth or Burns live for us as never before. Upon all of us in some way this man made an indelible impression. I myself shall never forget Professor Winchester's reading and interpretation of the Ode to Duty. He brought out the impressiveness of the truth it teaches with such hushing conviction. Another friend spoke of the way in which he handled his books, which was characteristic, and suggestive of his bearing toward literature in the large. For, being one of the most genuinely modest of men,judicial as was his criticism,-he always approached great works of literature with a very winning kind of respect. The loving way in which he taught literature, in itself, opened many a man's eyes. As has been well said, “he taught his students to think while feeling, and to feel while thinking, and he taught them to love literature while teaching them to know it." And whatever his audience, he always made the individuals that composed it feel that they were one with him in knowledge, insight, and appreciation. Or perhaps our fondest memory may be of Professor Winchester in the seminar where his way of welcoming every man's point of view, and yet bringing all the wandering question and comment round to some definite conclusion in the end was a marvel of generalship in teaching. And how we came to watch for the glint of humor in his eye !--sign of a gift that kept his view of life wholesome, and enlivened many a page as well as many an hour. Or yet again we may best remember him as he conducted morning prayers at chapel, for religion was deep and essential in the man. He had the poet's love for beauty, and a sunniness of outlook upon life, but he had the poet's aspiration as well; he felt with distinguishing force “how near to good

is what is fair"; his predilection for Milton in Comus, for Wordsworth, Ruskin, Browning, was evidence of a trait in himself which made the desire of beauty lead to spiritual things.

More friends than any but the editor can realize have materially contributed toward the bringing out of this book. Of course it would never have been at all but for the generous devotion of her who was always nearest and dearest to him. We are especially fortunate in having the Introduction written by one whose peculiarly rich experience of life and fine cultural sense enabled him to place Professor Winchester among critics of literature, the more justly for being free of the bias of personal acquaintance. And col. laboration has been far-reaching. It has extended all the way from former students who have helped in selection, colleagues, or professors in other colleges, who have given us the benefit of their advice or knowledge or service in proof-reading, even to utter strangers who have taken upon themselves irksome tasks merely out of sympathy with our endeavor. Professor Winchester's was just the spirit to appreciate such ministration of friendliness, and the book stands as witness to the generous aid and kindly co-operation of all. Let us inscribe it as it thus fitly goes forth fostered by manifold friendship: To all those who were his students

in any sort
and are ever his friends.

Louis Bliss Gillet.

22 February, 1922.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »