Poems and Other Writings

Front Cover
Library of America, 2000 - Literary Criticism - 854 pages
7 Reviews
No American writer of the 19th century was more universally enjoyed and admired than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His works were extraordinary bestsellers for their era, achieving fame both here and abroad. Now, for the first time in over 25 years. Poems and Other Writings offers a full-scale literary portrait of America's greatest popular poet. Here are the poems that created an American mythology: Evangeline in the forest primeval, Hiawatha by the shores of Gitchee Gumee, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, the wreck of the Hesperus, the village blacksmith under the spreading chestnut tree, the strange courtship of Miles Standish, the maiden Priscilla and the hesitant John Alden; verses, like "A Psalm of Life" and the "The Children's Hour", whose phrases and characters have become part of the culture. Erudite and fluent in many languages, Longfellow was endlessly fascinated with the byways of history and the curiosities of legend. His many poems on literary themes, such as his moving homages to Dante and Chaucer, his verse translations from Lope de Vega, Heinrich Heine, and Michelangelo, and his ambitious verse dramas, notably The New England Tragedies (also complete), are remarkable in their range and ambition. As a special feature, this volume restores to print Longfellow's novel Kavanagh, a study of small-town life and literary ambition that was praised by Emerson as an important contribution to the development of American fiction. A selection of essays rounds out of the volume and provides testimony to Longfellow's concern with creating an American national literature.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mwalls3 - LibraryThing

In addition to the heart and soul lacing each and every word, Longfellow's poetry is beautifully and eloquently written. This collection is composed of his greatest and most finest pieces of work ... Read full review

Review: Poems and Other Writings (Library of America #118)

User Review  - Robert Palmer - Goodreads

Longfellow is one of my favorite poets, though he is no longer held in the same high esteem that he once was. During his lifetime, he was widely regarded as the greatest American poet, and his works ... Read full review

Contents

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About the author (2000)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was the most popular and admired American poet of the nineteenth century. Born in Portland, Maine, and educated at Bowdoin College, Longfellow's ambition was always to become a writer; but until mid-life his first profession was the teaching rather than the production of literature, at his alma mater (1829-35) and then at Harvard (1836-54). His teaching career was punctuated by two extended study-tours of Europe, during which Longfellow made himself fluent in all the major Romance and Germanic languages. Thanks to a fortunate marriage and the growing popularity of his work, from his mid-thirties onwards Longfellow, ensconced in a comfortable Cambridge mansion, was able to devote an increasingly large fraction of his energies to the long narrative historical and mythic poems that made him a household word, especially Evangeline (1847), The Song of Hiawatha (1855), The Courtship of Miles Standish (1858), and Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863, 1872, 1873). Versatile as well as prolific, Longfellow also won fame as a writer of short ballads and lyrics, and experimented in the essay, the short story, the novel, and the verse drama. Taken as a whole, Longfellow's writings show a breadth of literary learning, an understanding of western languages and cultures, unmatched by any American writer of his time.

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