Read Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Free Online
Book Title: Song of Hiawatha|
The author of the book: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Date of issue: October 26th 1993
ISBN 13: 9780517001974
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 611 KB
Edition: Bounty Books (distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc.)
Read full description of the books Song of Hiawatha:I seem to have successfully avoided reading much of anything by Longfellow for nearly 58 years. But late last year I read Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie and decided I should see what else this famous American poet had to say.
When I picked The Song Of Hiawatha, I admit I was a little concerned that I would have visions of the Bugs Bunny cartoon running through my head the entire time I was reading. Bugs starts out reading the poem, young Hiawatha comes floating down the river on a rabbit hunt, and the rest is poetic hilarity.
But I concentrated. I said 'I can read this poem without seeing Bugs Bunny, I can, I know I can!' And I did. I was caught up in the story itself right away, and of course in the rhythm Longfellow chose to use. Then my quest became a struggle not to fall into 'thumpety-thumps' as I read, and I mostly managed that, so I have to say my reading experience of this epic poem was a success.
Supposedly Longfellow based his poem on actual Native American legends, but he sort of mixed them all up a bit, and it turns out (during post-reading research) that his main source was not entirely accurate in the first place, having edited his information to suit his own way of thinking. For Longfellow, Hiawatha becomes a figure of mythic powers, responsible for bringing together in peace the various tribes of the region, creating picture writing to remember great deeds and send messages, clearing rivers, killing evil creatures, etc. This makes for a dramatic, exciting story, and when the romance between the lovely Minnehaha is added, the poem becomes even more charming.
But it should not be read for authentic Native American concepts. And I did not at all care for the ending. I wish I could avoid spoilers, but I must say that (view spoiler)[ when Longfellow had Hiawatha accept the white man's priest and religion as the answer to a vision, then has him sail away to the West never to be seen again, I was disgusted. It was the classic 'the Red Race is dead, long live the White' attitude of the day and was terribly disappointing to me. (hide spoiler)]
I simply do not think the real Hiawatha would have behaved that way. And yes, Virginia, there was a real Hiawatha. Here is the Wiki link to read about him, if anyone is interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiawatha
Longfellow was a poet. He took some interesting ideas and turned them into a lovely epic saga that captured the public's imagination in various ways for many years. And certainly the name of Longfellow's mythological hero will live forever. The actual Hiawatha deserves at least that much.
Read information about the authorHenry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and "Evangeline". He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy and was one of the five members of the group known as the Fireside Poets.
Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine and studied at Bowdoin College. After spending time in Europe he became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, at Harvard College. His first major poetry collections were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1842). Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing, though he lived the remainder of his life in Cambridge, Massachusetts in a former headquarters of George Washington.
Longfellow predominantly wrote lyric poetry, known for its musicality, which often presented 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.
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