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Celtic Literature by Matthew Arnold
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The following remarks on the study of Celtic Literature formed the
substance of four lectures given by me in the chair of poetry at
Oxford. They were first published in the Cornhill Magazine, and are
now reprinted from thence. Again and again, in the course of them, I
have marked the very humble scope intended; which is, not to treat
any special branch of scientific Celtic studies (a task for which I
am quite incompetent), but to point out the many directions in which
the results of those studies offer matter of general interest, and to
insist on the benefit we may all derive from knowing the Celt and
things Celtic more thoroughly. It was impossible, however, to avoid
touching on certain points of ethnology and philology, which can be
securely handled only by those who have made these sciences the
object of special study. Here the mere literary critic must owe his
whole safety to his tact in choosing authorities to follow, and
whatever he advances must be understood as advanced with a sense of
the insecurity which, after all, attaches to such a mode of
proceeding, and as put forward provisionally, by way of hypothesis
rather than of confident assertion.

To mark clearly to the reader both this provisional character of much
which I advance, and my own sense of it, I have inserted, as a check
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