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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 50 0 Browse Search
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, Louis Agassiz: his life and correspondence, third edition 10 0 Browse Search
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Massachusetts in the Army and Navy during the war of 1861-1865, vol. 2 4 0 Browse Search
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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 1: Longfellow as a classic (search)
adorned Boston and its vicinity so long. The first to go was also the most widely famous. Emerson reached greater depths of thought; Whittier touched the problems of the nation's life more deeply; Holmes came personally more before the public; Lowell was more brilliant and varied; but, taking the English-speaking world at large, it was Longfellow whose fame overshadowed all the others; he was also better known and more translated upon the continent of Europe than all the rest put together, anring in the interleaved catalogue under the name of Tennyson, for instance, up to September, 1901, were 487; under Longfellow, 357; then follow, among English-writing poets, Browning (179), Emerson (158), Arnold (140), Holmes (135), Morris (117), Lowell (114), Whittier (104), Poe (103), Swinburne (99), Whitman (64). The nearest approach to a similar test of appreciation in the poet's own country is to be found in the balloting for the new Hall of Fame, established by an unknown donor on the grou
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 5: first visit to Europe (search)
s of Bowdoin College, Sept. 1st, 1829: Mr. Henry W. Longfellow having declined to accept the office of instructor in modern languages. Voted, that we now proceed to the choice of a professor of modern languages. And Mr. H. W. Longfellow was chosen. Thus briefly was the matter settled, and he was launched upon his life's career at the age of twenty-two. Of those who made up his circle of friends in later years, Holmes had just graduated from Harvard, Sumner was a Senior there, and Lowell was a schoolboy in Cambridge. Few American colleges had at that time special professors of modern languages, though George Ticknor had set a standard for them all. Longfellow had to prepare his own text-books—to translate L'Homond's Grammar, to edit an excellent little volume of French Proverbes Dramatiques, and a small Spanish Reader, Novelas Españolas. He was also enlisted in a few matters outside, and drew up the outline of a prospectus for a girls' high school in Portland, such high sc
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 6: marriage and life at Brunswick (search)
Chapter 6: marriage and life at Brunswick It has been a source of regret to many that the memoirs of Longfellow, even when prepared by his brother, have given, perhaps necessarily, so little space to his early love and first marriage, facts which are apt to be, for a poet, the turning-points in his career. We know that this period in Lowell's life, for instance, brought what seemed almost a transformation of his nature, making an earnest reformer and patriot of a youth who had hitherto been little more than a brilliant and somewhat reckless boy. In Longfellow's serener nature there was no room for a change so marked, yet it is important to recognize that it brought with it a revival of that poetic tendency which had singularly subsided for a time after its early manifestation. He had written to his friend, George W. Greene, on June 27, 1830, that he had long ceased to attach any value to his early poems or even to think of them at all. Yet after about a year of married life, he
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 8: appointment at Harvard and second visit to Europe (search)
romised not to decide upon anything till he returns, and I feel so confident that all uninterested persons will dissuade him from it, that I rest quite at ease. I wished him to go to satisfy himself, he was so very sanguine as to the result of it. We expect him home the last of next week. This Northampton business is a profound secret and is not mentioned out of the family! Another extract from the same correspondent shows us how Longfellow was temporarily influenced at Brunswick, like Lowell afterwards at Cambridge, by the marked hygienic and even ascetic atmosphere of the period; an influence apparently encouraged in both cases by their young wives, yet leaving no permanent trace upon the habits of either poet,—habits always moderate, in both cases, but never in the literal sense abstemious. Friday evening [April, 1834]. . . . He has gone to a Temperance Lecture this evening. He intends becoming a member of the Temperance Society; indeed I do not know but he has signed
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 12: voices of the night (search)
able social circle, for which his naturally cheerful temperament admirably fitted him. It is indeed doubtful if any Harvard professor of to-day could record in his note-books an equally continuous course of mild festivities. There are weeks when he never spends an evening at home. He often describes himself as gloomy, but the gloom is never long visible. He constantly walks in and out of Boston, or drives to Brookline or Jamaica Plain; and whist and little suppers are never long omitted. Lowell was not as yet promoted to his friendship because of youth, nor had he and Holmes then been especially brought together, but Prescott, Sumner, Felton, and others constantly appear. He draws the line at a fancy ball, declining to costume himself for that purpose; and he writes that he never dances, but in other respects spends his evenings after his own inclination. Two years later, however, he mentions his purpose of going to a subscription ball for the purpose of dancing with elderly lad
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 15: Academic life in Cambridge (search)
ecline, so far as depends upon them, adopting a measure the ulterior effects of which they may not foresee with accuracy, & they express the belief that it will be well to allow the present arrangement to continue for a time, even at the risk, apprehended by Prof. Longfellow, of its producing an injurious effect upon his department. They cannot but hope, however, that the evils le fears may be avoided, or if not, that they may be compensated by equivalent advantages. Saml. A. Eliot I J. A. Lowell, CommitteeHarvard College Papers [Ms.], 2d ser. XIII. 13. A year later than the above correspondence, the subject was evidently revived on the part of the governing powers of the College, and we find the following letter from Professor Longfellow:— Cambridge, Sept. 25, 1846. dear Sir,—In answer to your favor of the 18th inst. requesting my opinion on certain points connected with the Studies of the University, I beg leave to state; I. In regard to the advantages and disadvan
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 17: resignation of Professorship—to death of Mrs. Longfellow (search)
ng largely to the greater use of trochees. It is almost needless to say that no such effort can ever be held strictly to the classic rules, owing to the difference in the character of the language. With German hexameters the analogy is closer. On July 10, 1861, Mrs. Longfellow died the tragic death which has been so often described, from injuries received by fire the day before. Never was there a greater tragedy within a household; never one more simply and nobly borne. It was true to Lowell's temperament to write frankly his sorrow in exquisite verse; but it became Longfellow's habit, more and more, to withhold his profoundest feelings from spoken or written utterance; and it was only after his death that his portfolio, being opened, revealed this sonnet, suggested by a picture of the western mountain whose breast bears the crossed furrows. The cross of snow in the long, sleepless watches of the night, A gentle face—the face of one long dead— Looks at me from the wall, wher
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 19: last trip to Europe (search)
taly again, staying at Florence and Rome, where they saw the Abbe Liszt and obtained that charming sketch of him by Healy, in which the great musician is seen opening the inner door and bearing a candle in his hand. In the spring they visited Naples, Venice, and Innsbruck, returning then to England, where Longfellow received the degree of D. C. L. at Oxford; and they then visited Devonshire, Edinburgh, and the Scottish lakes. He again received numberless invitations in London, and wrote to Lowell, It is only by dint of great resolution that I escaped a dozen public and semi-public dinners. At the very last moment before sailing, he received a note from Mr. E. J. Reed, the chief constructor to the British Navy, who pronounced his poem The Building of the Ship to be the finest poem on shipbuilding that ever was or ever would be written. He reached home September 1, 1869. In his letters during this period, one sees the serene head of a family, the absolutely unspoiled recipient of pr
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 20: Dante (search)
on, while praising several other translators, does not so much as mention the name of Longfellow; and in his list of Aids to the Study of the Divine Comedy speaks only of Longfellow's notes and illustrations, which he praises as admirable. Even Lowell, the other original member of the conference, while in his Dante essay he ranks Longfellow's as the best of the complete translations, applies the word admirable only to those fragmentary early versions, made for Longfellow's college classes twena share in it, yet this reason does not quite satisfy. Nothing has been more noticeable in the popular reception of the completed work than the general preference of unsophisticated readers for those earlier translations thus heartily praised by Lowell. There has been a general complaint that the later work does not possess for the English-speaking reader the charm exerted by the original over all who can read Italian, while those earlier and fragmentary specimens had certainly possessed somet
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Chapter 22: Westminster Abbey (search)
ions made by that circumstance in America were very various, but might be classed under two leading attitudes. There were those to whom the English-speaking race seemed one, and Westminster Abbey its undoubted central shrine, an opinion of which Lowell was a high representative, as his speech on the occasion showed. There were those, on the other hand, to whom the American republic seemed a wholly new fact in the universe, and one which should have its own shrines. To this last class the Halld from the kindness we have received already from the authorities of Westminster Abbey, I have no doubt it will be received in the same spirit. I beg to offer you, Mr. Sub-Dean, the bust which has been subscribed for. The American Minister, Mr. Lowell, then said: Mr. Sub-Dean, my Lord, Ladies and Gentlemen, I think I may take upon myself the responsibility, in the name of the daughters of my beloved friend, to express their gratitude to Lord Granville for having found time, amid the continuo
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