Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Longfellow in 1868 by Julia Margaret Cameron
Born February 27, 1807(1807-02-27)
Portland, Maine, United States
Died March 24, 1882(1882-03-24) (aged 75)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Occupation Poet
Literary movement Romanticism


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) was an American teacher and poet. Some of his poems are "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline. He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy.[1] He was one of the five Fireside Poets. He was one of the most influential persons in the culture of the 1800s in the USA.[2]

Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine and studied at Bowdoin College. He then spent time in Europe. He returned and became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, at Harvard College. His first major books of poetry were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1841). Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to spend more time writing. He lived the rest of his life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, living in George Washington's old headquarters building. His first wife, Mary Potter, died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife, Frances Appleton, died in 1861 after her dress caught fire. Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time after she died. He mostly worked on his translation. He died in 1882.

Longfellow mainly wrote lyric poems which are known for their musicality. His poems often told stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet while he was alive. He was also successful in other countries. Some criticized him for imitating European styles and for writing poems for everyday people. In 1884, Longfellow became the first non-British writer for whom a commemorative bust was placed in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey in London. He is the only American poet represented with a bust.[3]

List of works[change | change source]

"The Village Blacksmith" (manuscript page 1)
  • Outre-Mer: A Pilgrimage Beyond the Sea (Travelogue) (1835)
  • Hyperion, a Romance (1839)
  • The Spanish Student. A Play in Three Acts (1843)[4]
  • Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie (epic poem) (1847)
  • "Kavanagh: A Tale" (1849)
  • "The Golden Legend" (poem) (1851)
  • The Song of Hiawatha (epic poem) (1855)
  • The Children's Hour (1860)
  • Household Poems (1865)
  • The New England Tragedies (1868)
  • The Divine Tragedy (1871)
  • Christus: A Mystery (1872)
  • "Aftermath" (poem) (1873)
  • The Reaper and the Flowers (1839)
  • The Bell of Atri (from The Sicilian's Tale) (1863–72)
Poetry collections
  • Voices of the Night (1839)
  • Ballads and Other Poems (1841)
  • Poems on Slavery (1842)
  • The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems (1845)
  • Birds of Passage (1845)
  • The Seaside and the Fireside (1850)
  • The Courtship of Miles Standish and Other Poems (1858)
  • Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863)
  • Flower-de-Luce (1867)
  • Three Books of Song (1872)[5]
  • The Masque of Pandora and Other Poems (1875)[5]
  • Kéramos and Other Poems (1878)[5]
  • Ultima Thule (1880)[5]
  • In the Harbor (1882)[5]
  • Michel Angelo: A Fragment (incomplete; published posthumously)[5]
  • Coplas de Don Jorge Manrique (Translation from Spanish) (1833)
  • Dante's Divine Comedy (Translation) (1867)
  • Poets and Poetry of Europe (Translations) (1844)[4]
  • The Waif (1845)[4]
  • Poems of Places (1874)[5]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/143
  2. "The Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow". http://www.hwlongfellow.org/. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  3. Williams (1964), p. 21
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Calhoun (2004), p. 179
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Calhoun (2004), p. 242

References[change | change source]

  • Calhoun, Charles C. Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004. ISBN 0807070262.
  • Williams, Cecil B. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1964.

Other websites[change | change source]