Synopses & Reviews
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was an American poet. He wrote the first American translation of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and was one of the five members of the group known as the Fireside Poets. He established his literary career by submitting poetry and prose to various newspapers and magazines. Between January 1824 and his graduation in 1825, he had published nearly 40 minor poems. About 24 of them appeared in the short-lived Boston periodical The United States Literary Gazette. After graduating in 1825, he was offered a job as professor of modern languages at his alma mater. The story, possibly apocryphal, is that an influential trustee, Benjamin Orr, had been so impressed Longfellow's translation of Horace that he was hired under the condition that he travel to Europe to study French, Spanish and Italian. When he returned to the United States in 1836, Longfellow took up the professorship at Harvard University. He began publishing his poetry, including Voices of the Night in 1839 and Ballads and Other Poems, which included his famous poem The Village Blacksmith, in 1841. His other works include Paul Revere's Ride, A Psalm of Life, The Song of Hiawatha, Evangeline and Christmas Bells.