Henry Longfellow Books



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; February 27, 1807, Portland (Maine) – March 24, 1882, Cambridge (Massachusetts)), American poet. Author of “Song of Hiawatha” and other poems and poems. Descended from an old Yorkshire family that moved to America in the 17th century. and lived in strict Puritan traditions. The poet was brought up at first in his small hometown, Portland, read a lot, was fond of Washington Irving and, under his influence, began to write poetry. Longfellow received his university education at Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, and after a year in Europe became a professor of new languages, first at Brunswick, then at Harvard University; compiled a number of valuable courses on European literature, published several translations from Spanish, told his travel experiences in an interesting book “Outre-Mer”. From the end of the 1830s, he devoted himself entirely to the work of his life – poetry. One of his first poems was “Psalm of Life”, which immediately made the author very popular; in 1839, the first collection of his poems, Voices of the night, appeared, followed by a large autobiographical novel, Hyperion, which had no success. This was followed by other lyric collections: Ballads and other poems (1841), which included the famous poem Excelsior, Poems on slavery (1842) and others. Longfellow was far less involved in the 1840s movement for the liberation of blacks than other American poets such as Vitier and Lowell. He was incapable of practical activity and, sympathizing with the abolitionists, expressed this with only a few songs about slaves, very artistic, but less strong and indignant than the poet`s friends had expected. From lyric poetry, Longfellow moved on to creating epic poems of a national-American character. Such is, first of all, Evangeline (1847), a pastoral poem from the history of the first French immigrants to America; she immediately made Longfellow a national poet and by the beginning of the 20th century remained one of the reference books of every American family. The same national character is distinguished by the Courtship of Miles Standish (1858), where the poet is inspired by legends about the British ancestors of modern Americans, and Hiawatha (1855), a poem from the life of the Indians of North America. With these poems Longfellow reached the pinnacle of literary fame; all his further collections: Tales of the wayside Inn (1863), Three books of song (1872), Golden legend, Birds of Passage, Ultima Thule and many others. others found enthusiastic reception from critics and the public, as did his translations from Italian, French, and German poets. Raised in the spirit of European literature, imbued with the poetry of Wordsworth and other English lacists, Longfellow, in his first lyric collections, transplanted English calm, idyllic romanticism onto American soil. “Voices of the night”, “Ballads” and others are devoid of grandiose impulses, as well as the pathos of deep philosophical moods – but they contain genuine fresh poetry of simple, quiet and tender feelings that arise in a narrow circle of everyday life. Longfellow`s lyric collections alternate between cheerful and melancholic motives: in Psalm of Life he preaches an active, optimistic ideal of life, in Footsteps of Angels he sings a hymn of reconciliation with the blows of fate. “Excelsior” – one of Longfellow`s most popular poems – extols the boundless pursuit of an unattainable ideal, and in the melodic “Hymn of the night” the poet prays only for a temporary forgetfulness from suffering, singing the night, the comforter of the suffering. In addition to the named lyric plays of Longfellow, some of the songs of the slaves (especially “The Slave`s Dream”), “The Arrow and the Song”, “The Village Blacksmith” belong to his best poems. Longfellow`s epic poems reflect the desire to create a new national poetry, to recreate the beauty of virgin forests, the naivety of the infant population, its simple feelings and whole characters. Evangeline is inspired by Goethe`s poem Hermann and Dorothea. A girl separated from her lover as a result of the unexpected expulsion of their families from their native nest, the lonely and sad life of lovers, their exploits in serving suffering compatriots, their meeting in the hospital, when in the dying Gabriel Evangeline, now a sister of mercy, recognizes a friend of her youth – this is the plot poem, beautiful mainly for individual episodes, descriptions of life and wildlife, as well as the successful use of hexameter. In the poem “Hiawatha” Longfellow outlined the legends prevailing among the North American Indians, according to the author, the work can be called the “Indian Edda”. The very meter Longfellow chose to imitate the Finnish Kalevala is very suitable for the content of the poem, which more than anything Longfellow wrote, embodied the spirit of the American people. “The Courtship of Miles Standish” completes a series of national poems with dignity, reproducing the mores and feelings of the Puritans in the first era of their American life. Longfellow, thanks to his vast literary knowledge, was often inspired by common European subjects, especially medieval legends. These are: “Golden Legend”, “The Spanish Student”, some poems from “Tales of a Wayside Inn” and others. Of his many translations, the translation of Dante`s “Divine Comedy” is especially remarkable, very accurate and artistic, despite the lack of rhymes. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Song of Hiawatha

The Song of Hiawatha