Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The writings of 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) have been read for more than a hundred years. With that longevity, his work has earned a place in numerous textbooks and other published works through current day. In today’s world, some of his writings have become controversial but they continue to be regarded as generally representative of the thinking of publishers, writers, and readers during his time.
You can read more about Longfellow in our section about writers from Maine and Michigan.
Longfellow House in Cambridge
The poet’s Longfellow House in Cambridge was also the headquarters for General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. The stately house and garden are open to the public in the summer through early fall and are operated by the National Park Service.
During the summer, special family activities are available on Sundays. A festival of guest speakers on literary and historic topics, concerts and poetry readings are offered as part of its annual summer festival.
His most famous poem is probably Paul Revere’s Ride, a staple of historic literature often memorized by middle grade students, which can be found at https://poets.org/poem/paul-reveres-ride. Its well-known beginning is: “Listen my children, and you shall hear, of the midnite ride of Paul Revere…” Other important writings of the poet are Evangeline and The Song of Hiawatha.
According to literary lore, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published his first poem at the age of 13 under the name “Henry.” When his father read it, he said it was terrible, not realizing that it had been written by his son who would eventually become one of America’s best known poets.
Longfellow House is the sixth stop on Massachusetts Author Adventures Trail Part 2.
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