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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 13: third visit to Europe (search)
Chapter 13: third visit to Europe The year 1841 was on the whole a rather dazzling period for the young poet. His first volume had been received with enthusiasm. His second volume was under way. He had a circle of friends always ready to criticise any new poem or to propose themes for other works; chief among the latter being his friend Samuel Ward, in New York, who suggested the Phantom Ship, on the basis of a legend in Mather's Magnalia, and urged the translation of Uhland's Das Gluck von Edenhall and Pfizer's Junggesell. A scrap of newspaper, bearing the seal of the State of New York with the motto Excelsior, suggested the poem of that name. The Skeleton in Armor was included within the book and was originally to have given the title to it. Prescott, the historian, said that this poem and the Hesperus were the best imaginative poems since Coleridge's Ancient Mariner. Reading the tenth chapter of Mark in Greek, Longfellow thought of Blind Bartimeus. He wrote to his fathe
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 14: anti-slavery poems and second marriage (search)
tion. Margaret Fuller, who could by no means be called an abolitionist, described the volume as the thinnest of all Mr. Longfellow's thin books; spirited and polished like its forerunners; but the subject would warrant a deeper tone. On the other hand, the editors of Graham's Magazine wrote to Mr. Longfellow that the word slavery was never allowed to appear in a Philadelphia periodical, and that the publisher objected to have even the name of the book appear in his pages. His friend Samuel Ward, always an agreeable man of the world, wrote from New York of the poems, They excite a good deal of attention and sell rapidly. I have sent one copy to the South and others shall follow, and includes Longfellow among you abolitionists. The effect of the poems was unquestionably to throw him on the right side of the great moral contest then rising to its climax, while he incurred, like his great compeers, Channing, Emerson, and Sumner, some criticism from the pioneers. Such differences
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 16: literary life in Cambridge (search)
ugh to be put on the stage, at least in English, though a German version was performed at the Ducal Court Theatre in Dessau, January 28, 1855. As literary work it was certainly well done; though taken in part from the tale of Cervantes La Gitanilla, and handled before by Montalvan and by Solis in Spanish, and by Middleton in English, it yet was essentially Longfellow's own in treatment, though perhaps rather marred by taking inappropriately the motto from Robert Burns. He wrote of it to Samuel Ward in New York, December, 1840, calling it something still longer which as yet no eye but mine has seen and which I wish to read to you first. He then adds, At present, my dear friend, my soul is wrapped up in poetry. The scales fell from my eyes suddenly, and I beheld before me a beautiful landscape, with figures, which I have transferred to paper almost without an effort, and with a celerity of which I did not think myself capable. Since my return from Portland I am almost afraid to lo
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Index (search)
success of, 141; publication of, 145. Voltaire, Francis M. A. de, 112,120, 121. Wadsworth, Christopher, 12. Wadsworth, Elizabeth B., 12. Wadsworth, Henry, 14. Wadsworth, Miss, Lucia, 97, 99; Mary S. P. Longfellow's letter to, 100-106. Wadsworth, Gen., Peleg, 12, 18; appearance of, 13. Wadsworth, Zilpah. See Longfellow, Zilpah W. Wadsworth family, 13. Wales, Prince of, 221. Wales, Henry W., 215. Walker, Rev., James, 178, 203; Longfellow's letters to, 204-206., Ward, Samuel, 149, 164, 188. Wardell, John, 131. Washington, George, 6, 292; headquarters at Craigie House, 116, 117. Washington, Martha, 117. Washington, D. C., 79. Webb, Richard D., criticizes Longfellow's anti-slavery poems, 167. Webster, Daniel, 6. Weimar, 289. Weld, Miss, Emeline, describes Mrs. Longfellow, 64. Wells, George W., Longfellow writes to, 37. Wendell, Prof., Barrett, 142; his Literary History of America, cited, 142 note. Wesselhoeft, Dr., Robert, 161. West Poi