Monday, August 8, 2016

Longfellow gets angry (1850s)

W.J. Stillman, whose short-lived journal, The Crayon, is a wonderfully articulate expression of mid-1850s nature=art sentiment, lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts for a while and got to know Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In Stillman's Autobiography of a Journalist (1901), he tells a story that is relevant to our purposes. 
I never saw him [Longfellow] angry but once, and that was at his next-door neighbor shooting at a robin in a cherry-tree that stood near the boundary between the two gardens. The small shot carried over and rattled about us where we sat…but showed the avicidal intent, and Longfellow went off at once to protest against the barbarity, not at all indignant at the personal danger, if he thought of any. 
Longfellow, of course, would go on to write the poem that gives this blog its name. We are just a few years (1856) away from covering the year of its publication (1863).

And that's it for this summer. I might, if possible, keep the project going sporadically this fall. I have a working paper based this project in progress that might show up hereabouts when I've made some revisions. I've added links from summer 2016 to the "comprehensive links" page.

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