Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Basic Information

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Feb. 27, 1807 - Mar. 24, 1882) poet, was born in Portland. He was enrolled in a dame school at the age of three and by age six was enrolled at the private Portland Academy. He very studious and become fluent in Latin, the fifteen years old, Longfellow enrolled at Bowdoin College.
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He wrote about

Longfellow wrote predomi lyric poems, known for their musicality and often presenting stories of mythology and legend

He began to write early, the Gazette of Maine on Nov. 17, 1820. During 1837-1840, he contributed five articles to the North American Review. In 1839 published Hyperion, a romance, and Voices of the Night. In 1842, he wrote Poems on Slavery. Longfellow had more other books as: Evangeline (1847), the Golden Legend (1851), the Song of Hiawatha (1855),...
Before 1900, his poems had been translated into German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Polish, Bohemian, Hungarian, and Russian. In French, nine, including four of Evangeline; in Italian, twelve. The prices he received for poems show the growth of his fame: fifteen dollars for "The Village Blacksmith" in 1840; $3000 for "The Hanging of the Crane" in 1874.
His sketches of individuals show vivid appreciation of a wide range of human types men of action, like the hero in "Victor Galbraith" or "Kambalu"; men of science, like "Agassiz"; poets, like "Dante and Chaucer"; ecclesiastics good and bad, like this in "The Golden Legend" and "The Monk of Casal Maggiore"; women, like "Evangeline", "Priscilla" and the heroic mother in "Judas Maccabaeus"

"The Golden Legend" and "The New England Tragedies" in an attempt to depict the development of Christianity. "The Hanging go the Crane" and "The Masque of Pandora" are also inferior

Longfellow's writings belong to the Romantic Movement in its milder phases. He was a Victorian only in his moderation and decorum, which were a part of his Puritan heritage. Longfellow's approach even to American life was through his library.

Evangeline smells not only of the library but also of a "diorama" of the Mississippi that came to Boston while he was writing the poem.

Interesting facts Longfellow

Longfellow married on Sept. 14, 1831, Mary Storer Potter - that is a beautiful and cultivated woman. Four years later, she died at Rotterdam.

The second his wife is Frances Elizabeth Appleton, they married on July. 13, 1843. She was a woman of twenty-six, they had six children. On July 9, 1861, Mrs.Longfellow was sealing up packages of her daughters' curls, a match set fire to her dress, and in spite of her husband's efforts to put out the flames, by which he also was badly burned, she died the next day.

Background information

In 1835, Longfellow accepted the professorship of modern languages and belles-lettres at Harvard. He had many friends, the closest begging Professor Cornelius C.Felton, Charles Sumner, George S. Hillard, and Henry R. Cleveland.

After death of second his wife, during a tour Europe with his family, in 1868-1869, he received the degree of LL.D. from Cambridge, and that of D.C.L. from Oxford.

During the las three months of 1881, Longfellow was confined to his room by vertigo followed by nervous prostration, and never fully recovered. On Mar. 18, 1882, four schoolboys called, and he showed them the house with his usual courtesy. That afternoon, he became ill, peritonitis developed, and six days later, he died.

He was buried at Mount Auburn. On Mar. 2, 1884, a bust of him was unveiled in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey.


"Henry Wadsworth Longfellow". Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936. Biography in Context. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.