Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow : Portrait of an American Humanist

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Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 139.7 x 205.74 x 25.4mm | 408.23g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Fr.
  • 0195006461
  • 9780195006469

Review Text

This is a completely rewritten adaptation of Professor Wagenknecht's out-of-print volume, Longfellow: A Full-Length Portrait, published in 1955. As a work of scholarship, the book is impeccable, and ably interweaves Longfellow's personal life with his artistic creations. It should serve as a definitive portrait of the man, his age, and his poems and various prose efforts. That is to say it will have value for the interested student or layman. Unfortunately, Professor Wagenknecht has as much literary style as a high school year book, and his view of life is almost as conventional. In these pages Longfellow emerges as invigorating as a lily pond, and Professor Wagenknecht's attempts to describe the inner workings of the poet's soul, his two marriages, his academic career at Bowdoin and Harvard, his great literary acclaim, and his friendships and European travels, while fastidiously presented with the utmost accuracy, never once glimmers with anything even faintly resembling the spark of life. Longfellow- that noble spirit, an "American humanist," father of Hiawatha- how dull he seems! Perhaps the modernists were right in rejecting him as an admirable old bore. Certainly this book does little to prove them wrong. (Kirkus Reviews)show more