The aim of this book is to set forth, in the simplest possible way, some of the questions to be considered and the principles to be kept in view in the systematic study of literature. Despite the large and ever increasing number of works which deal with special aspects of literature on the historical and critical sides, I believe that there is still a place for a compact and fairly comprehensive volume of this kind. This faith may indeed be taken for granted, as otherwise the book would not have been written. I should, however, add that the utility of the plan adopted in it has been established by practical experience, since much of its substance has already been used and tested in a course of lectures delivered before University Extension audiences at Polytechnic, Woolwich. The fact that these lectures were followed with sustained interest, in the one case by upward of 500, in the other by over 100, listeners, of whom, while many were engaged in teaching, the majority were concerned with literature only as general readers, encourages me to think that the same matter, put into the form of a book, may prove equally helpful to a wider circle of students.