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Adam Bede (search for this): chapter 5
On my heart also there is a cross of snow. In Longfellow's diary we meet with the names of many books that he read, and these as well as the pertinent comments on them tell much more of his intellectual life than we derive from his letters. Adam Bede, which took the world by storm, did not make so much of an impression on him as Hawthorne's Marble Faun, which he read through in a day and calls a wonderful book. Of Adam Bede he says: It is too feminine for a man; too masculine for a woman. Adam Bede he says: It is too feminine for a man; too masculine for a woman. He says of Dickens, after reading Barnaby Rudge : He is always prodigal and ample, but what a set of vagabonds he contrives to introduce us to! Barnaby Rudge is certainly the most bohemian and esoteric of Dickens's novels. He liked much better Miss Muloch's John Halifax, --a popular book in its time, but not read very much since. He calls Charles Reade a clever and amusing writer. We find nothing concerning Disraeli, Trollope, or Wilkie Collins. Neither do we hear of critical and historic
presented to him by his friends and admirers; especially the fine set of Chateaubriand's works, in all respects worthy of a royal collection. There is no ornament in a house that testifies to the quality of the owner like a handsome library. Byron would seem to have been the only other poet that has enjoyed such prosperity, although Bryant, as editor of a popular newspaper, may have approached it closely; but a city house, with windows on only two sides, is not like a handsome suburban reso English rival since Spenser. The trochaic meter in which Hiawatha is written would seem to have been his own invention; At least I can remember no other long poem composed in it. and is a very agreeable change from the perpetual iambics of Byron and Wordsworth. Evangeline is perhaps the most successful instance of Greek and Latin hexameter being grafted on to an English stem. Matthew Arnold considered it too dactylic, but the lightness of its movement personifies the grace of the heroi
Tom Moore (search for this): chapter 5
d exactly fill his place, and it was much the same at Oxford after Matthew Arnold retired. The difference between then and now would seem to reside in the fact, that poetry is more easily remembered than prose. From the time of Homer until long after the invention of printing, not only were ballad-singers and harpers in good demand, but the recital of poetry was also a favorite means of livelihood to indigent scholars and others, who wandered about like the minstrels. The article, as Tom Moore called it, was in active request. Poetry was recited in the camp of Alexander, in the Roman baths, in the castles on the Rhine, and English hostelries. Now it is replaced by novel-reading, and there are few who know how much pleasure can be derived on a winter's evening by impromptu poetic recitations. If a popular interest in poetry should revive again, I have no doubt that hundreds of poets would spring up, as it were, out of the ground and fill the air with their pleasant harmonies.
Of Adam Bede he says: It is too feminine for a man; too masculine for a woman. He says of Dickens, after reading Barnaby Rudge : He is always prodigal and ample, but what a set of vagabonds he contrives to introduce us to! Barnaby Rudge is certainly the most bohemian and esoteric of Dickens's novels. He liked much better Miss Muloch's John Halifax, --a popular book in its time, but not read very much since. He calls Charles Reade a clever and amusing writer. We find nothing concerning Disraeli, Trollope, or Wilkie Collins. Neither do we hear of critical and historical writers like Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, Carlyle, and Froude. He went, however, to call on Carlyle in England, and was greatly impressed by his conversation. The scope of Longfellow's reading does not compare with that of Emerson or Marian Evans; but the doctors say that every man of forty knows the food that is good for him, and this is true mentally as well as physically. He refers more frequently to Tennyson t
Biglow Papers (search for this): chapter 5
ermany, and then returned to Portland, the same true American as when he left there, without foreign ways or modes of thinking, and with no more than the slight aroma of a foreign air upon him. Longfellow and his whole family were natural cosmopolitans. There was nothing of the proverbial Yankee in their composition. Whittier was a Quaker by creed, but he was also much of a Yankee in style and manner. Emerson looked like a Yankee, and possessed the cool Yankee shrewdness. Lowell's Biglow Papers testified to the fundamental Yankee; but the Longfellows were endowed with a peculiar refinement and purity which seemed to distinguish them as much in Cambridge or London as it did in Portland, where there has always been a rather superior sort of society. It was like French refinement without being Gallic. No wonder that a famous poet should emanate from such a family. What we notice especially in the Longfellow Letters during this European sojourn is the admonition of Henry's fat
much of as though they were distinguished. He recognized fine traits of character, perhaps real greatness of character, in out-of-the-way places,--men whose chief happiness was their acquaintance with Longfellow. It was something much better than charity; and Professor Child spoke of it on the day of Emerson's funeral as the finest flower in the poet's wreath. Longfellow was one of the kindest friends that the Hungarian exiles found when they came to Boston in 1852. Longfellow helped Kossuth, subscribed to Kalapka's riding-school, and entertained a number of them at his house. Afterwards, when one of the exiles set up a business in Hungarian wines, Longfellow made a large purchase of him, which he spoke of twenty years later with much satisfaction. He liked Tokay, and also the white wine of Capri, which he regretted could not be obtained in America. Those who supposed that Longfellow was easily imposed upon made a great mistake. He had the reputation among his publishers
Longfellow It has been estimated that there were four hundred poets in England in the time of Shakespeare, and in the century during which Dante lived Europe fairly swarmed with poets, many of them of high excellence. Frederick II. of Germany and Richard I. of England were both good poets, and were as proud of their verses as they were of their military exploits. Frederick II. may be said to have founded the vernacular in which Dante wrote; and Longfellow rendered into English a poem of Richard's which he composed during his cruel imprisonment in Austria. A knight who could not compose a song and sing it to the guitar was as rare as a modern gentlmed as if Providence had set a limit beyond which human happiness could not pass. It was after this calamity that Longfellow undertook his metrical translation of Dante's Divina Commedia, a much more difficult and laborious work than writing original poetry. As his brother said, He required an absorbing occupation to prevent him
ous from its very loneliness. Many have died or lost their health under such conditions (in fact Longfellow came near losing his life from Roman fever), and he wrote from Paris: Here one can keep evil at a distance as well as elsewhere, though, to be sure, temptations are multiplied a thousand-fold if he is willing to enter into them. A young man's first experience in London or Paris is a dangerous sense of freedom; for all the customary restraints of his daily life have been removed. Mrs. Stowe says of her beautiful character, Eva St. Clair, that all bad influences rolled off from her like dew from a cabbage leaf, and it was the same with Longfellow throughout. He lived in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, and then returned to Portland, the same true American as when he left there, without foreign ways or modes of thinking, and with no more than the slight aroma of a foreign air upon him. Longfellow and his whole family were natural cosmopolitans. There was nothing of the pro
John Halifax (search for this): chapter 5
the world by storm, did not make so much of an impression on him as Hawthorne's Marble Faun, which he read through in a day and calls a wonderful book. Of Adam Bede he says: It is too feminine for a man; too masculine for a woman. He says of Dickens, after reading Barnaby Rudge : He is always prodigal and ample, but what a set of vagabonds he contrives to introduce us to! Barnaby Rudge is certainly the most bohemian and esoteric of Dickens's novels. He liked much better Miss Muloch's John Halifax, --a popular book in its time, but not read very much since. He calls Charles Reade a clever and amusing writer. We find nothing concerning Disraeli, Trollope, or Wilkie Collins. Neither do we hear of critical and historical writers like Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, Carlyle, and Froude. He went, however, to call on Carlyle in England, and was greatly impressed by his conversation. The scope of Longfellow's reading does not compare with that of Emerson or Marian Evans; but the doctors say
springy step and a very slight swing of the shoulders, which showed that he enjoyed it. He may not have walked such long distances as Hawthorne, or so rapidly as Dickens, but he was a good walker. His sister, Mrs. Greenleaf, built a memorial chapel in North Cambridge for the Episcopal society there, and from this Longfellow forarble Faun, which he read through in a day and calls a wonderful book. Of Adam Bede he says: It is too feminine for a man; too masculine for a woman. He says of Dickens, after reading Barnaby Rudge : He is always prodigal and ample, but what a set of vagabonds he contrives to introduce us to! Barnaby Rudge is certainly the most bohemian and esoteric of Dickens's novels. He liked much better Miss Muloch's John Halifax, --a popular book in its time, but not read very much since. He calls Charles Reade a clever and amusing writer. We find nothing concerning Disraeli, Trollope, or Wilkie Collins. Neither do we hear of critical and historical writers like
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