Front Page Titles (by Subject) PREFACE. - An Autobiography, vol. 1
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PREFACE. - Herbert Spencer, An Autobiography, vol. 1 
An Autobiography by Herbert Spencer. Illustrated in Two Volumes. Vol. I (New York: D. Appleton and Company 1904).
Part of: An Autobiography
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It has seemed to me that a natural history of myself would be a useful accompaniment to the books which it has been the chief occupation of my life to write. In the following chapters I have attempted to give such a natural history. That I have fully succeeded is not to be supposed; but perhaps I have succeeded partially. At any rate, one significant truth has been made clear—that in the genesis of a system of thought the emotional nature is a large factor: perhaps as large a factor as the intellectual nature.
Some peculiarities in the instruction given to me ought not to pass without remark. That neither in boyhood nor youth did I receive a single lesson in English, and that I have remained entirely without formal knowledge of syntax down to the present hour, are facts which should be known; since their implications are at variance with assumptions universally accepted. And there should be noted other large omissions, as well as considerable additions, which gave to my education a character unlike that of the ordinary education.
Further, some advantage is likely to result from presenting in their order of genesis the evolutionary ideas set forth in my works; beginning with certain vague adumbrations of them dating back to 1842 and 1844, passing on to the definite germs which made their appearance in 1850, and showing the successive stages through which the developed form of the Doctrine of Evolution was reached in 1869. Apart from such interest as this piece of mental history has, the delineation of it will, perhaps, yield aids to the readers of The Synthetic Philosophy. The ultimate product may be rendered more comprehensible by contemplation of its growth.
Before proceeding with this volume, the reader should glance at the Note which follows. After learning from it how irregular has been the order in which the different parts of the work have been written, he will not be surprised by certain small repetitions, and possibly other anomalies, with which he will meet.
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