HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
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He was born on February 27, 1807, at
Portland, Maine, U.S to Stephen Longfellow and Zilpah (Wadsworth) Longfellow. His father was a lawyer, and his maternal grandfather was Peleg Wadsworth, a general in the American Revolutionary War and a Member of Congress. His mother was a descendant of Richard Warren, a passenger on the Mayflower. Henry Wadsworth was his maternal uncle, after whom he was named.
He descended from the English colonists who settled in New England in the early 1600s. He went to a dame school ( private school meant for young children in the British Isles) when he was three and later joined Portland Academy when he was six. His mother encouraged him to read Robinson Crusoe and Don Quixote. He got admission into Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, along with his brother Stephen by the fall of 1822, where he became friends with Nathaniel Hawthorne. He became a professor in his Alma mater and later worked at Harvard College after completing his studies in Europe.
He married Mary Storer Potter in 1831 who died after a miscarriage in 1835. He gave up teaching to concentrate on his writing career in 1854. He also lost his second wife Frances Appleton, whose dress caught fire, in 1861. Longfellow was deeply affected by her death and found it difficult to concentrate on writing poetry for a time and chose to translate works from foreign languages.
Most of his poems were lyrical in nature and based on the stories of mythology and legend. This made him a very popular American poet and he gained quite a reputation overseas as well. But he also experimented with other forms of poetry like hexameter, free verse, anapestic and trochaic forms, blank verse, heroic couplets, ballads, and sonnets.
He died on March 24, 1882 (aged 75) at Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S, leaving behind a rich legacy of treasured works of American Literature.
His notable work :
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