4 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Best Loved Poems
Copyright 1949
Checked out 46 times in ? years (acquisition unclear)
Last checked out 1 year ago

The Song of Hiawatha
Copyright 1968
Checked out 17 times in 42 years
Last checked out 4 years ago
Illustrated by Frederic Remington

The Song of Hiawatha and Other Poems
Copyright 1989
Checked out 0 times in 21 years
Illustrations by Frederic Remington
(includes The Song of Hiawatha, Evangeline, and The Courtship of Miles Standish)

Selected Poems
Copyright 1992
Checked out 9 times in 14 years
Last checked out 3 years ago
(includes Evangeline, The Courtship of Miles Standish and a small portion of The Song of Hiawatha)

Longfellow is not lauded as one of our great poets but it’s hard to deny the historical significance of his work. The introduction to Selected Poems (above) claims “he was the most popular poet in the English-speaking world” at the time of his death.  And anyone who is interested in or who enjoys formal meter will enjoy reading his work. Part of its continuing common appeal is that it is often narrative and accessible. Personally, I grew up with a collection of Longfellow poems and thus developed a childhood fondness for some of them. I suspect my experience is fairly common and that those childhood memories bring people back to him throughout life.

Longfellow’s work was not without controversy. In The Song of Hiawatha (above), an introductory note details accusations of plagiarism due to similarities between the Finnish Kalevala and “The Song of Hiawatha.” Critics marked his general lack of originality and the rigidity of his verse. However, he struck a cord with people that has yet to break.

These four books are more than enough to represent Longfellow in a city of this size. The oldest book is showing its age and could be culled without replacement, letting the other three continue to represent this much-loved poet.

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About jppoetryreader

Poetry reviewer and poetry consultant for libraries
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