British Letters: Illustrative of Character and Social Life

by Edward T. Mason

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Edward Tuckerman Mason (1847-1911) published anthologies on American humor, along with studies of Samuel Johnson and Robert Browning, as well as a still admired – and ahead of its time – work on the Italian actor Tommaso Salvini and his interpretation of Othello.

This volume is perhaps the most interesting of the three collections he compiled, as it presented his somewhat eccentric but entertaining view of British culture. To develop it, he partly relied on the help and advice of Steven Buttrick Noyes (1833-1885), who, as the head of the Brooklyn Library, built it into a major resource, partially owing to the fact that he was a distinguished bibliographer.