Talk:Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Good articleHenry Wadsworth Longfellow has been listed as one of the Language and literature good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
March 13, 2008Good article nomineeListed
January 24, 2009Peer reviewReviewed
Current status: Good article

Harry Wadsworth Club[edit]

I deleted the part about the Harry Wadsworth Club because it does not seem to be related to Longfellow. According to Mass Historical Society documents,

"It was Greenleaf who inspired the character of "Harry Wadsworth" in Ten Times One Is Ten."

"In addition to "Ten Times One Clubs," other names chosen by clubs included "Harry Wadsworth Clubs," —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Alcinoe (talkcontribs) 14:40, 4 May 2007 (UTC).


Longfellow was interested in pre-Columbian American history and penned some poems about the subject (see The Skeleton in Armor article. Would it be appropriate to mention that in this article?--Caliga10 13:21, 28 April 2006 (UTC)


One of the reasons HWL is disdained is that he seems to use cliches. In fact, many of the so-called cliches were ORIGINATED by him. Let's put some of these phrases onto the page. Kdammers 10:33, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Here's one -- "ships that pass in the night", from The Theologian's Tale; Elizabeth:
Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.

Image of Mrs. Longfellow[edit]

Please fix the {{PD - art}}. template. Thank you. 14:30, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

I fixed it - I was the one who added the picture. Alcinoe 03:30, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Where's his other wife?[edit]

There is a section in the article about Longfellow's marriage to Fanny Appleton but it mentions that he is burried with both of his wives. Where's the info about the other one? TarTar Sauce 23:54, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

His first wife died in Europe and her body was sent back to Cambridge Massachusetts.
This should probably be added to the article, don't you think? --Loomos 23:29, 20 November 2006 (UTC)

Schools named after him[edit]

This should be cleaned up. It started out with one school. I did a quick check, since I figured there were many. So I just listed the first states that I ran across. Maybe some-one can check (or would that be doing forbidden original research :) ?) and change the text to some-thing like "Many / Most states have schools named after him." Kdammers 12:21, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Interesting! Why is there all?[edit]

By the sound of your discussion, was everything deleted a while ago or something? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 14:58, 27 February 2007 (UTC).

No, a vandal just removed it. I'm restoring it now. Nyttend 15:15, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Under Longfellow's Work, 1st paragraph, last sentence says: He had become one of the first American celebrities, and was widely deletehis poetry. huh?

This user IP ( blanked the page. I replaced it with the last known good version.Raan0001 00:06, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Death of second wife - date[edit] nd

both give July 9 as the date of Frances's death. The most recent change here (ca. 14 April 2007) appears to be vandalism. Wik earlier had her death on the 10th, after the accident on the 9th. Can some-one check a reliable source, put in the correct date, and make a ref or note as to the source? Please. Kdammers 04:57, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Add to works[edit]

I think that maybe we should have a complete list of longfellow's works, as it is now scattered throughout the textBRAD 18:12, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

A complete list of long works (shorter ones can be included in 'collected works' or some such thing) would be good. Kdammers 09:58, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
I added a list Alcinoe 12:52, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

MP3 link[edit]

I can get to the site, but the texts I clicked on didn't activate. Could some-one else check to see if this is just a problem I have or whether the site is defective. Kdammers 09:58, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Where is the mp3 link that you were trying to access? Alcinoe 21:46, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
I think I was referring to the "listen to audio" link. In any case, when I now click on "listen to audio," I get a site whose button does not activate any audio on my computer.
I see what you mean. About a year ago, changes were made in the way that some things are embedded into web pages. The audio, which probably used to work perfectly, now requires that you click once anywhere on the audio box before pressing the play button. Doing this will make the play button work.


The latest edit (present 07-6-6)seems to be very complex and might include both vandalism and valid changes! Also, the html text includes a misspelling of Wadsworth (i.e., Wasdworth), but it doesn't show up on the users' version. kdammers (tildes don't work).

love as in poetry[edit]

Could some one please help me?.Im looking for a short preface to a poetry book that i read to my wife 18yr. ago when i ask her to merry me.It started with something like,Love as with poetry does not have to wait the test of time.I think it was wriyen by Longfellow.03:06, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

There is a similar quote by Robert Frost "...permanence in poetry as in love is perceived instantly. It hasn't to await the test of time." You can find it on page 229 of a biography of Frost here:,M1p229 Alcinoe 07:04, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Should'nt a mention be put in about he might have attended Berwick Academy in his youth?



I've swapped out the main image for a more high-resolution one, moving the old one (which is good, but lowish resolution) elsewhere in the article. Adam Cuerden talk 08:45, 9 August 2007 (UTC)


I've removed "Longfellow birthplace" from fn/ref 4. There were two identical external links with different descriptions. As far as I can tell the link is solely to the Craigie House, so this description was incorrect. --Doug.(talk contribs) 00:29, 8 October 2007 (UTC)


Should we mention that he was a Romantist? Or is it that his work falls into the Romanticism category? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:46, 29 December 2007 (UTC)


Hi, I have the picture of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807-1882 `The Perry Pictures, Boston Edition Copyright, 1899 by E. A. Perry

Anybody interested? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:57, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

the picture at the bottom (legacy section) is signed as showing Longfellow in 1893. But according to the data he's been dead for 11 years at the time! There must be a mistake! --Maxl (talk) 10:54, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Looks like a simple misunderstanding... The image was first printed in 1893, not taken in 1893, so that's the confusion. I will change the caption. --Midnightdreary (talk) 13:14, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

critical response[edit]

Except for the qualified Poe comments, all we have are negatives here. But HWL was highly regarded during his life-time. Can't some-one look at the critical literature of the time and find a truer refelction of his appraisal? Kdammers (talk) 06:20, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry. It's a work-in-progress. I'm basically re-writing the majority of the article, which will probably take a couple weeks (take a look at the edit history to see how much it's improved in a couple days... I think I'm off to a good start!). It's good to have the negative stuff, of course, but the balance will certainly be the positive (normally it's the other way around, but this is just what I have found thus far). If you have sourced information regarding a positive critical response, feel free to add it in. --Midnightdreary (talk) 13:56, 2 February 2008 (UTC)


I removed the recently added section on Quotations. For one thing, none of the quotes were sourced, nor was the line that they were "commonplace" today. Besides that, there's a link to Wikiquote. I think that's enough. --Midnightdreary (talk) 13:46, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

GA review (see here for criteria)

An overall excellent article (small quibble, but the "list of works" section seems to need some organization; seems to me that first unlabelled section has some poetry collections and the Dante translation in it. These should be moved into the appropriate section. Maybe also a labelled column for books and/or plays?)

  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
    Good job on the logical quotes, be careful with quotations (short works) and italics(long works, including epic poems). The prose is mostly good, although some parts seem stilted and choppy (ex. the section about the confusion over the manuscript of the play seems odd, extraneous, and unclear). Try to achieve a better balance between short sentences and compound and/or complex sentences.
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    more sources are never bad, esp. if this is to go on to FAR. More sources would also help expand the criticism and writing section, which is important.
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
    again, this article may need more analysis/interpretation of his writing for FAC
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:

--Malachirality (talk) 23:58, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks again for taking the time. I'm concerned with the number of sources myself. Unfortunately, before Calhoun, Mr. Longfellow had gone several decades without a proper biography. Most of the sources I could've gotten my hands on were circa 1906 and not written in a very scholarly manner. I'll keep an eye out, though, and I'll definitely try expanding the sections you suggest. --Midnightdreary (talk) 00:18, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

New Yorker[edit]

"The The New Yorker called him "one of the very few in our time who has successfully aimed in putting poetry to its best and sweetest uses" " I don't see how this can be right - The New Yorker started in 1925. Is some other periodical meant? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:29, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for catching that! It was a periodical called the New-Yorker, and has nothing to do with the more modern The New Yorker. I made the change. --Midnightdreary (talk) 21:25, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Hiawatha / Anonymous edits[edit]

An editor with a rotating IP address keeps splicing information about Hiawatha into the "Style" section of this article. Though I have no particular qualms about the (irrelevant) information this person is adding, they are adding into a phrase that is already sourced. As the current footnote does not support their addition, it would be misleading to put that information before the footnote. Instead, this editor should add it after the footnote, with a new source footnoted. As this is not being done, I will continue to revert, as I have done about a half dozen times now. I'm trying to maintain the integrity of this GA-class article, and misrepresenting its verifiability will certainly compromise its quality. I would also hope that this anonymous IP consider reading the edit history of this page before he adds it again, so he can see what's going on. If not, I can only hope they read this talk page. Here's hoping, anyway... --Midnightdreary (talk) 22:15, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Anyone around?[edit]

Is there anyone still working on this page? It is so close to being complete. Ottava Rima (talk) 21:31, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm still here, patching it up here and there. It's on my backburner as far as "things to do" (literally; I have a section on my user page). Let me know what you think and where expansion is still needed; I'd appreciate the feedback! --Midnightdreary (talk) 03:51, 22 November 2008 (UTC)


What was his religion?? (talk) 00:27, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Unitarian, though he was not particularly open about his religious beliefs as he considered them a private matter. --Midnightdreary (talk) 00:54, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Shouldnt that be noted then?? (talk) 01:39, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Only if it's important... and easily sourced. --Midnightdreary (talk) 05:05, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Skanderbeg poem, use if needed[edit]

I am not a litterature specialist, but wanted to give my contribution for a poem of Longfellow on Skanderbeg. You may read it "here" and use it for the article. I noticed that none of the sources provided in the article included this poem, please correct me if I'm wrong. --sulmues (talk) 14:08, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure this poem is particularly canonical for Longfellow; he wrote over 300 poems and not all will be represented in this article. It is, however, already on Wikisource, which is the depository for all his works on the Wikimedia project. --Midnightdreary (talk) 04:20, 18 March 2010 (UTC)
I saw it. Thank you! --sulmues (talk) 01:00, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

That musta been some long labor...[edit]

Was he really born both in Portland, Maine and part of Massachusetts? LOL. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cowcharge (talkcontribs) 18:05, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Uhh... yes. Portland was part of Massachusetts when Longfellow was born in 1807, before the independent state of Maine was established. --Midnightdreary (talk) 22:27, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Longfellow's political and moral views[edit]

Jill Lepore (12/19/2010). "Paul Revere's Ride Against Slavery". NY Times. Check date values in: |date= (help)
is a good reference if anyone wants to add anything about his abolitionist beliefs.--Javaweb (talk) 05:36, 20 December 2010 (UTC)Javaweb

That's an opinion piece so I'm not sure that's the best source for much. --Midnightdreary (talk) 13:07, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Good point. The NY Times civil war opinion pieces usually have citations at the end can themselves be searched for references. The references rather than the opinion piece itself would be cited in Wikipedia. However, in this case, there were no references, only the name of her latest book. Searching

snippets of her book online, it doesn't say much about Longfellow .--Javaweb (talk) 14:31, 20 December 2010 (UTC)Javaweb

I suppose it would be okay to include her views from that column, so long as it's "Jill Lepore suggests that..." With that said, Longfellow's anti-slavery views are fairly well known so I'm pretty sure there are other sources. Do you think the article under-represents these views? Should we expand on them? --Midnightdreary (talk) 17:13, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

The article has the right balance.Javaweb (talk) 20:06, 20 December 2010 (UTC)Javaweb

Visit to Europe in 1868[edit]

? worth mentioning: Longfellow came to Europe for the last time in 1868, with his three daughters. He visited Alfred Tennyson on the Isle of Wight, had tea with Queen Victoria and saw Liszt in Rome. [1] Michael P. Barnett (talk) 01:32, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I think that trip is important to telling his complete biography here. As I understand, it was part of his son Ernest's honeymoon after his wedding to Harriet Spellman, and the whole family went along (including uncle Thomas Gold Appleton). I didn't know about the tea with the Queen, though I know he met her. We'd need a better source, though. --Midnightdreary (talk) 12:56, 1 April 2011 (UTC)


I know that there is a Legacy section, so this might be able to be included in that, but I'm wondering if there could be a section or paragraph about Longfellow's influence on other writers and poets? In particular, (albeit, this is a very specific and, perhaps, weaker example) it would appear that his poem "Tegner's Drapa" was very influential on C.S. Lewis (see Surprised by Joy, page 11). Although I would love to see that sort of minor link in the article, I'm not certain it is necessary; but I do think some sort of "influence" section, alongside the legacy, would be important. I'm curious myself to see who Longfellow influenced! Thanks! Sir Ian (talk) 05:14, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

It's always a possibility to include something like this but I would caution against starting a simple list. If it doesn't merit a full sentence or two, then the influence is not strong enough. --Midnightdreary (talk) 12:35, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Moving first and second wives together[edit]

Longfellow's first wife is mentioned in the section "European tours and professorships." Since she doesn't have anything to do with either, I'd like to suggest that this part be moved down to the mention of his second wife. Rissa, copy editor (talk) 19:00, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

I don't know if I'd agree with a move like that. The article, as it is, is impressively chronological (and coherent that way). The subheadings are mostly assistance in navigation, not necessarily complete summations of the information. --Midnightdreary (talk) 23:38, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Criticism gone too far[edit]

The quote calling him "nothing more than a hack imitator of the English Romantics" seems a bit much. The entire evaluation of his work seems too negative and worse yet, is all couched in praise for other poets with different styles. There should be a degree of balance in the section and there is not. (talk) 03:54, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

The first two paragraphs of that section focus on positive response. The second two paragraphs show the negative responses. Following that, there is an entire section on his legacy where he is repeatedly praised. If anything, the balance tips more positive than negative. --Midnightdreary (talk) 12:00, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
The problem is that the end of the section is uniformly negative and flatly says that his "popularity rapidly declined, beginning shortly after his death and into the twentieth century". To say that his general popularity "rapidly declined" after 1882 seems an overstatement. The concluding paragraph also seems wrong in that while it talks about his "popularity" in general, it makes arguments strictly in terms of his popularity with academics. The paragraph seems to be correctly reflecting declining opinions among academics after 1882, but its written with wording that suggests a broader decline. (talk) 16:30, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

Removed too-close paraphrase[edit]

I have reverted this edit, undoing the re-addition of a lead section paragraph which appears to be a too-close paraphrase of material appearing at AlexHenry Wadsworth Longfellow (1994). Tales of a Wayside Inn. p. 105. ISBN 978-1-105-94551-9. Longfellow wrote predominantly lyric poems, known for their musicality and often presenting stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet of his day and also had success overseas. He has been criticized, however, for imitating European styles and writing specifically for the masses. A slightly different (but still too close, IMO) paraphrasing was inserted into the article in this March 2008 edit. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 16:33, 31 December 2018 (UTC)

You have it backwards. Again, I assure you that I wrote this paragraph years ago -- before the source you found online was published. It's extremely possible that they took it from Wikipedia. --Midnightdreary (talk) 01:47, 1 January 2019 (UTC)
Here is some assistance: The version approved as a good article in 2008, which significantly predates the self-published source from 2012. Please assume good faith next time. --Midnightdreary (talk) 01:49, 1 January 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for highlighting this. I had relied on this info from Google Books page about the source I cited above, which I read as identifying that book edition/variation as ISBN 1105945510, 9781105945519, and which says that it was published in 1994 by Lulu Lulu Press, Inc. Google Books search results here seem to confirm that. However, I see that the Edition notice page, here, inside the Google Books preview material is dated 2012, and that the WP article on Lulu Press says that they were founded in 2002. The material at issue here appears in undated endmatter which follows Longfellow poems republished in that book. I don't know enough about the mechanics of book publishing to resolve that apparent discrepancy but, for present purposes, it looks like I was wrong about this. My apologies. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 07:30, 1 January 2019 (UTC)