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Longfellow: A Rediscovered Life [US]:
Despite his tumble out of the canon, Longfellow remains a marvel of American literature, a figure who resists reduction to student-memorized poetic passages. He provided the first major impetus towards public recognition of the multicultural nature of US literature; few figures among American writers, then or since, match his cosmopolitan qualities; and comparative literature studies in the United States begin with Longfellow. It was in recognition of that multicultural cast of his work and translations that Harvard established the Longfellow Institute for the study of multilingual American literature, under the aegis of Marc Shell and Werner Sollors. However, instead of this form of recognition, too often appreciation of Longfellow has been abandoned to right-wing critics such as Dana Gioia – better known as the chair of the National Endowment for the Arts – whose appreciation of Longfellow is caught up with a return to supposed ‘traditional’ aesthetic values. Yet there was little traditional about Longfellow’s work and its transatlantic hybridity, and the quietly insistent political radicalism of his Poems of Slavery gets ignored in such appreciations. [...]
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