previous next
[37]

Chapter 4: literature as a pursuit

Longfellow graduated at Bowdoin College in June, 1825. There was in his mind, apparently, from the first, that definiteness of purpose which is so often wanting when a student takes his first college degree. There was for him no doubt or hesitation: it must be literature or nothing; and this not merely from a preference for the pursuit, but from an ambition, willingly acknowledged, to make a name in that direction. He writes to his friend, George W. Wells, ‘Somehow, and yet I hardly know why, I am unwilling to study any profession. I cannot make a lawyer of any eminence, because I have not a talent for argument; I am not good enough for a minister,—and as to physic, I utterly and absolutely detest it.’ Even a year before this, he had written to his father a letter of some moment, dated March 13, 1824, containing the following ominous passage: ‘I am curious to know what you do intend to make of me,— whether I am to study a profession or not; and if so, what profession. I hope your ideas upon ’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George W. Wells (1)
Henry Longfellow (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June, 1825 AD (1)
March 13th, 1824 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: