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The Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Nationality is a good thing to a certain extent, but universality is better. All that is best in the great poets of all countries is not what is national in them, but what is universal.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1855 (Photo courtesy the Longfellow National Historic Site)

The Poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The most comprehensive, available collection of Longfellow’s poetry is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Poems and Other Writings, edited by J.D. McClatchy, published in hardback by the Library of America (2000). It includes selections from thirteen of Longfellow’s collections of poetry, the unabridged Evangeline and The Courtship of Miles Standish, and a chronology of the poet’s life.

An unabridged version of Tales of a Wayside Inn is published by Longfellow’s Wayside Inn (Sudbury, MA: 1995).

Paperback versions of Longfellow’s verse include Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Selected Poems, with an introduction by Lawrence Buell (New York: Penguin, 1988), and Evangeline and Selected Tales and Poems, with an introduction by Horace Gregory (New York: Signet, 2005).

Longfellow’s translation of Dante’s Inferno is available from Modern Library (2003), based on his 1867 translation, with a preface by Matthew Pearl and an introduction by Lino Pertile.

Selected Books about Longfellow and His Poetry

Calhoun, Charles C. Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004.

Gale, Robert L. A Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Companion. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and His Portland Home. Portland, ME: Maine Historical Society, 2004.

Irmscher, Christoph. Longfellow Redux. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Letters of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Ed. Andrew Hilen. 6 vols. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1966-82.

All poems used in this Reader’s Guide are on the Poetry Foundation’s website: A biography and bibliography are also available there.

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