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The Song of Hiawatha (1855)

av Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
9191717,245 (3.92)58
America's most popular 19th century poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow devoted himself to providing his country with a national mythology, poetic tradition and epic forms. Known and loved by generations of schoolchidlren for its evocative storytelling, his 1855 classic is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.… (mer)
  1. 10
    Kalevala av Elias Lönnrot (Michael.Rimmer)
    Michael.Rimmer: Longfellow used the Kalevala metre for The Song of Hiawatha. Both works in the epic tradition.
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Edited, and with and introduction, Biographical and Explanatory notes, and Pronouncing Vocabulary of Proper Names.
  Matthew_Erskine | May 16, 2020 |
From the book:The Song of Hiawatha is based on the legends and stories of many North American Indian tribes, but especially those of the Ojibway Indians of northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. They were collected by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the reknowned historian, pioneer explorer, and geologist. He was superintendent of Indian affairs for Michigan from 1836 to 1841. Schoolcraft married Jane, O-bah-bahm-wawa-ge-zhe-go-qua (The Woman of the Sound Which the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky), Johnston. Jane was a daughter of John Johnston, an early Irish fur trader, and O-shau-gus-coday-way-qua (The Woman of the Green Prairie), who was a daughter of Waub-o-jeeg (The White Fisher), who was Chief of the Ojibway tribe at La Pointe, Wisconsin. Jane and her mother are credited with having researched, authenticated, and compiled much of the material Schoolcraft included in his Algic Researches (1839) and a revision published in 1856 as The Myth of Hiawatha. It was this latter revision that Longfellow used as the basis for The Song of Hiawatha.
  Inquisitive43 | Apr 10, 2020 |
Everybody knows “By the shores of Gitche Gumee; By the shining Big-Sea Water”, right? But what comes next? Nor is that how the poem begins. In fact, we are well into the third Canto (of twenty-two) before those famous words show up. I know I was exposed to Longfellow’s long narrative poem way back in high school sometime, but I had never read it in its entirety before. Hiawatha, born of Wenonah and the fickle West Wind, is raised by his grieving grandmother, Nokomis, after Wenonah dies of a broken heart. He becomes a strong and mighty brave, and eventually wins the lovely Minnehaha as his wife. This poem is the story of his life, incorporating multiple Native American folktales which Longfellow learned from studying the work of two 19th century scholars, Heckewelder and Schoolcraft. The structure and rhythm of the poem are based on the Finnish epic, Kalevala, which appeared approximately 20 years earlier, and which Longfellow had read just before beginning his own epic tale. It was his intent to provide a similar chronicle, a sort of unified mythology, for the American Indians. Here, of course, arises a mighty cultural stumbling block to a 21st century appreciation of a work that contains some magnificent language and imagery. Longfellow, a white man, took it upon himself to codify a mythology for an indigenous culture he was not a part of, and which did not exist as he envisioned it. Because there is no single “American Indian” culture; because the indigenous people of this continent comprise multiple tribes diverse in their languages, beliefs, traditions and habits, who lived in harmony with their environment, without ever considering that they owned it, long before there was such a concept as “America”; because while Longfellow’s assumption that the Indian tribes would never create their own “national epic” may have been valid, his mission to do it for them was misguided in his own time, and now feels as obnoxious and out of place as the Christian sentiments and symbolism he inserts into the final scenes of his song. Longfellow was criticized by his contemporaries for “borrowing” legends from the Kalevala, and he defended himself against that charge by citing the scholarly works from which he drew his Indian legends, pointing out that the similarities which certainly appeared were not his doing. Apparently he was not called to task for doing what he openly admitted to, that is creating an overall mythic framework meant to encompass the Indians of the Maine woods, the Great Lakes, the Southwest, and the Great Plains as though they were a single people, indistinguishable from one another. There are common elements among their tribal stories, just as there were legends recounted in the Kalevala that sounded like source material for the Song of Hiawatha, and Longfellow really did create a poetic masterpiece here; it’s just that we must read it with a culturally critical eye to the liberties he took to do so.

A note on the edition I read (which claims to be the only unabridged version in print): it was published by David R. Godine, and contains the illustrations by Frederic Remington that accompanied the original edition. They are not coordinated to the text at all, and mostly consist of marginal drawings of tools, utensils, and other articles of Indian origin; animals, plants and features of the landscape of the Southwest. They are exquisite. This edition also includes a glossary, notes (in which the page references are all incorrect), and an informative afterword by the publisher. If you want to read this epic, I strongly suggest you get your hands on this edition. ( )
2 rösta laytonwoman3rd | Feb 16, 2020 |
This book, spanning almost 200 pages, is one large poem. It is divided into chapters and memorializes myths from Native American tribes in mid-western North America. It is entertaining and, like much of Longfellow's poetry, highlights the unique nature of the United States. It portrays America as a land overflowing with natural resources and with a history that is also deep and speckled by strange names like Hiawatha.

No wonder Longfellow received commendation in Westminster Abbey despite not being British. His poetry is patterned with a meter that is obvious to any reader. It does not rhyme but in a chant, lulls the reader into a trance as she/he wonders what is coming next in Hiawatha's adventures.

Themes span the gamut of one's lifespan; birth, adventure, marriage, family, civic service, and death are all covered. In an age where Native Americans could be viewed as racially tinted, Longfellow's approach humanizes the bloodline. One sees Native Americans as a nexus of relationships that, too, long for peace and prosperity.

Unfortunately, history did not always listen to Longfellow. Native American culture is still not much appreciated today and is constrained to reservations. Reading this poem almost 150 years since its first publication, one cannot help but ponder whether Longfellow's idyllic vision meets the reality of modernity. At the very least, however, it gives us something to aspire to. ( )
  scottjpearson | Jan 25, 2020 |
Not my thing, but I gave it a good try. It's fine for an epic poem. ( )
  fuzzi | Jan 6, 2020 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Henry Wadsworth Longfellowprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Aaron, DanielRedaktörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Ellis, Davidmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Hootkins, WilliamBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Remington, FredericIllustratörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Should you ask me, whence these stories?
Whence these legends and traditions,
With the odors of the forest
With the dew and damp of meadows,
With the curling smoke of wigwams,
With the rushing of great rivers,
With their frequent repetitions,
And their wild reverberations
As of thunder in the mountains?
[Foreword] More than 125 years ago--before the Civil War--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow brought to the attention of the world some of the beautiful stories and legends of Native Americans in his epic poem "Th Song of Hiawatha."
[Introductory Note] "Evangeline", published in 1847, was followed by "The Golden Legend" in 1851, and that by "Hiawatha" in 1855.
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By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
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This work refers to The Song of Hiawatha only. Please do not combine with editions that contain other poems also.
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America's most popular 19th century poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow devoted himself to providing his country with a national mythology, poetic tradition and epic forms. Known and loved by generations of schoolchidlren for its evocative storytelling, his 1855 classic is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

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