Henry W. Longfellow

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Henry W. Longfellow

ALS to Editor Charles Norton - 1862

Great association Autograph Letter Signed “H. W. L.,” 1p, 12mo, Cambridge, MA, April 14, 1862. To editor and scholar Charles E. Norton of the same town, he sends:

My Dear Charles,

Many thanks for the tickets. I enclose $4.00 for the same, and hoping to see you soon, remain

Ever affectionately
H. W. L.

With original envelope addressed, in Longfellow’s hand. Very light foxing, otherwise in very good condition.

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW (1807-1882). American poet; among his many notable works are Evangeline, The Wreck of the Hesperus, The Village Blacksmith, and Paul Revere’s Ride.

Just the year before he wrote this letter, Longfellow’s wife Fanny had died tragically, and as was typical of his handling adversity, he threw himself into literary projects. The most challenging project he undertook was his blank-verse translation of The Divine Comedy. A translation of this work had been among his goals when teaching Dante at Harvard, and he had translated small parts of the poem in the early 1840s. Now he plunged into work, translating at the rate of a canto a day. For advice, he gathered weekly evening sessions of his “Dante Club” of writer-scholars–among them James Russell Lowell, who had succeeded Longfellow as Smith Professor; Charles Eliot Norton, who eventually published his own prose translation of Dante’s masterpiece; and William Dean Howells. Longfellow’s translation, still respected for its linguistic appreciation and literary merit, appeared in an 1865-1867 three-volume edition, although he completed the translation in spring 1864.


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