Wednesday, 24 March 2010

On this day...

American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow died in 1882, at the age of 75. By the age of three, Longfellow was enrolled in full-time private education, and such a privilege ensured that he enquired a reputation for being very studious, and he also became fluent in Latin. Yet most importantly, he acquired a real passion for literature. Introduced by his mother at a young age to the likes of 'Robinson Crusoe' and 'Don Quixote', at the age of 13 he began to submit poetry and articles to various newspapers and magazines.

Longfellow pursued a mainly academic career, gaining professorships at first Bowdoin and subsequently Harvard; at the latter, he himself studied German, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Swedish and Icelandic. Perhaps the greatest influence on his work, was the death of two wives, the first from a miscarriage, the second from a fire. Afriad that he was 'inwardly bleeding to death' from the loss, Longfellow often resorted to opium as a means of escape. Praised highly by Edagr Allan Poe, Longfellow is frequently described as America's most distinguished poet, and by 1868, his annual income was more than $48,000. His most famous works include, 'The Song of Hiawatha', 'Paul Revere's Ride' and 'Evangeline'.

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