Longfellow

Longfellow

A Rediscovered Life

Book - 2004
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Random House, Inc.
Charles C. Calhoun's Longfellow gives life, at last, to the most popular American poet who ever lived, a nineteenth-century cultural institution of extraordinary influence and the"one poet average, nonbookish Americans still know by heart" (Dana Gioia).

Calhoun's Longfellow emerges as one of America's first powerful cultural makers: a poet and teacher who helped define Victorian culture; a major conduit for European culture coming into America; a catalyst for the Colonial Revival movement in architecture and interior design; and a critic of both Puritanism and the American obsession with material success. Longfellow is also a portrait of a man in advance of his time in championing multiculturalism: He popularized Native American folklore; revived the Evangeline story (the foundational myth of modern Acadian and Cajun identity in the U.S. and Canada); wrote powerful poems against slavery; and introduced Americans to the languages and literatures of other lands.

Calhoun's portrait of post-Revolutionary Portland, Maine, where Longfellow was born, and of his time at Bowdoin and Harvard Colleges, show a deep and imaginative grasp of New England cultural history. Longfellow's tragic romantic life-his first wife dies tragically early, after a miscarriage, and his second wife, Fannie Appleton, dies after accidentally setting herself on fire-is illuminated, and his intense friendship with abolitionist and U.S. senator Charles Sumner is given as a striking example of mid-nineteenth-century romantic friendship between men. Finally, Calhoun paints in vivid detail Longfellow's family life at Craigie House, including stories of the poet's friends-Hawthorne, Emerson, Dickens, Fanny Kemble, Julia Ward Howe, and Oscar Wilde among them.

Houghton
Charles C. Calhoun’s Longfellow gives life, at last, to the most popular American poet who ever lived, a nineteenth-century cultural institution of extraordinary influence and the “one poet average, nonbookish Americans still know by heart” (Dana Gioia).

Calhoun’s Longfellow emerges as one of America’s first powerful cultural makers: a poet and teacher who helped define Victorian culture; a major conduit for European culture coming into America; a catalyst for the Colonial Revival movement in architecture and interior design; and a critic of both Puritanism and the American obsession with material success. Longfellow is also a portrait of a man in advance of his time in championing multiculturalism: He popularized Native American folklore; revived the Evangeline story (the foundational myth of modern Acadian and Cajun identity in the U.S. and Canada); wrote powerful poems against slavery; and introduced Americans to the languages and literatures of other lands.

Calhoun’s portrait of post-Revolutionary Portland, Maine, where Longfellow was born, and of his time at Bowdoin and Harvard Colleges, show a deep and imaginative grasp of New England cultural history. Longfellow’s tragic romantic life—his first wife dies tragically early, after a miscarriage, and his second wife, Fannie Appleton, dies after accidentally setting herself on fire—is illuminated, and his intense friendship with abolitionist and U.S. senator Charles Sumner is given as a striking example of mid-nineteenth-century romantic friendship between men. Finally, Calhoun paints in vivid detail Longfellow’s family life at Craigie House, including stories of the poet’s friends—Hawthorne, Emerson, Dickens, Fanny Kemble, Julia Ward Howe, and Oscar Wilde among them.


Baker & Taylor
The first contemporary book-length account of the life of this important American poet explores his contributions to American culture as well as his craft as both poet and teacher, revealing Longfellow as a prescient literary genius who advocated multiculturalism and opposed slavery.

Book News
Besides the fact that his work is no longer in fashion, the reason most people know almost nothing about American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82) is that he was a proper fellow who attracted no scandal, even a century after his death, says Calhoun, a scholar of history and law. He offers a biography for the general public drawing on recent scholarship in history, literature, and the study of national identity. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Blackwell North Amer
In the first biography of Longfellow in almost fifty years, Charles C. Calhoun seeks to solve a mystery: Why has one of America's most famous writers fallen into such oblivion? Can we truly understand nineteenth-century America if we ignore someone whose words were on everyone's lips - and who even today remains, in Dana Gioia's words, "the one poet average, non-bookish American's still know by heart"?
Drawing on unpublished Longfellow family papers, Calhoun shows how the young poet blends the Federalist politics and Unitarianism of his parents' generation with the German romanticism he discovers on his travels. The result is a distinctly American poetry, traditional in form but nationalist in sentiment, Longfellow's Paul Revere, Priscilla Alden, Miles Standish, and the Village Blacksmith become American icons. And in his masterpiece, Evangeline, Longfellow invents the foundational myth of Acadian and Cajun ethnic identity.
Calhoun's Longfellow is also a multiculturalist, introducing Americans to Dante and championing the study of foreign languages at Bowdoin and Harvard. His career is seen in light of new scholarship on sentimentality and romantic male friendship. And through the pages of the book walks a procession of vivid characters - from the poet's Revolutionary War grandfather, Peleg Wadsworth, to his friends and acquaintances, including Hawthorne, Emerson, Charles Sumner, Dickens, Carlyle, Fanny Butler, Queen Victoria, and Oscar Wilde.

Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press, c2004
ISBN: 9780807070260
0807070262
Branch Call Number: 811.3 LON
Characteristics: xvi, 317 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., ports

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