Originally published in 1892, "the object of this Handbook is to supply readers and speakers with a lucid, but very brief account of such names as are used in allusions and references, whether by poets or prose writers; - to furnish those who consult it with the plot of popular dramas, the story of epic poems, and the outline of well-known tales. The number of dramatic plots sketched out is many hundreds. Another striking and interesting feature of the book is the revelation of the source from which dramatists and romancers have derived their stories, and the strange repetitions of historic incidents. It has been borne in mind throughout that it is not enough to state a fact. It must be stated attractively, and the character described must be drawn characteristically if the reader is to appreciate it, and feel an interest in what he reads." This work, an American reprint of The Reader's Handbook by E. Cobham Brewer, "...while retaining all of the original material that can interest and aid the English-speaking student, gives also 'characters and sketches found in American novels, poetry and drama.'"