Reconsidering Longfellow is the first collection of scholarly essays in several decades devoted entirely to the work and afterlife of the most popular and widely read writer in American literature. The essays, written by a new generation of Longfellow scholars, cover the entire range of Longfellow's work, from the early poetry to the wildly successful epics of his middle period (Evangeline, The Song of Hiawatha) to his Chaucerian collection of stories published after the Civil War, Tales of a Wayside Inn. Separate contributions discuss Longfellow's financial dealings, his preoccupation with his children, and his interest in the visual arts, as well as the tremendous role his poetry did and will once again play in American literature classrooms in the U.S. All essays were written specifically for the volume. Many of them rely on unpublished archival sources from the Longfellow collections at the Longfellow House-George Washington National Historic Site and at Houghton Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
Number of pages: 220
Weight: 331 g
Dimensions: 233 x 151 x 15 mm
Once the US's schoolroom poet-he lost favor when modernism deemed him insipid-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82) now has fresh appraisals sympathetic to his milieu, his poems' structural properties, and his underestimated advocacy of American historical truths. Irmscher's previous work includes Longfellow Redux and Public Poet, Private Man: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at 200. He and Arbour lead eight other critics in a restoration of the poet's reputation, sympathetically re-presenting him as deserving cultural respectability. Andrew Higgins succinctly examines Longfellow's 1833 translation of Jorge Manrique's Coplas; Lloyd Willis finds in Longfellow sentimentalism affinities that run counter to the tradition of contemporaneous male poets. Other essays look at Evangeline (1847), Paul Revere's Ride (1861), and Longfellow's finances. James McDougall scrutinizes The Song of Hiawatha (1855) for its challenges then and still today, and uses Heidegger to probe both the famous poem and the vanishing Indian belief that helped create it. Arbour's essay includes little-viewed pencil sketches by the poet and his son Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow. With its vigorous cultural studies, new historicist, and transnational approaches to Longfellow-who was overshadowed by Poe and Whitman-this collection should be saluted for its cutting-edge absolution of Longfellow. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. * CHOICE *
A fine collection of essays on the career of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stands as an important contribution to this year's work.... [T]he editors provide scholars and students with valuable perspectives on a writer who remains one of the nation's premier poets. * American Literary Scholarship *
He just won't go away! Despite efforts in the first half of the twentieth century to expunge Longfellow from the canon and in the second half to forget him altogether, he survives - not on the fringes of cultural history but, as this ground-breaking work in the emerging field of Longfellow Studies makes clear, as far too interesting and multi-faceted to ignore. Longfellow Reconsidered gives us a writer and educator much more complex than the dusty Schoolroom Poet of yesteryear: he rivals Whitman in the intensity of his nationalism, while at the same time being the most cosmopolitan American poet of his age. Congratulations to Christoph Irmscher and Robert Arbour for assembling this eye-opening collection. -- Charles Calhoun, author of Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life