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美国李白式诗人朗费罗(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)传记

(2007-08-15 17:51:05)









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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

亨利·沃德沃斯·朗费罗美国李白式诗人朗费罗(Henry <wbr>Wadsworth <wbr>Longfellow)传记


written by Roberto Rabe

Probably the best loved of American poets the world over is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Many of his lines are as familiar to us as rhymes from Mother Goose or the words of nursery songs learned in early childhood. Like these rhymes and melodies, they remain in the memory and accompany us through life.




There are two reasons for the popularity and significance of Longfellow's poetry. First, he had the gift of easy rhyme. He wrote poetry as a bird sings, with natural grace and melody. Read or heard once or twice, his rhyme and meters cling to the mind long after the sense may be forgotten.




Second, Longfellow wrote on obvious themes which appeal to all kinds of people. His poems are easily understood; they sing their way into the consciousness of those who read them. Above all, there is a joyousness in them, a spirit of optimism and faith in the goodness of life which evokes immediate response in the emotions of his readers.




Americans owe a great debt to Longfellow because he was among the first of American writers to use native themes. He wrote about the American scene and landscape, the American Indian ('Song of Hiawatha'), and American history and tradition ('The Courtship of Miles Standish', 'Evangeline'). At the beginning of the 19th century, America was a stumbling babe as far as a culture of its own was concerned. The people of America had spent their years and their energies in carving a habitation out of the wilderness and in fighting for independence. Literature, art, and music came mainly from Europe and especially from England. Nothing was considered worthy of attention unless it came from Europe.




But "the flowering of New England," as Van Wyck Brooks terms the period from 1815 to 1865, took place in Longfellow's day, and he made a great contribution to it. He lived when giants walked the New England earth, giants of intellect and feeling who established the New Land as a source of greatness. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Will美国李白式诗人朗费罗(Henry <wbr>Wadsworth <wbr>Longfellow)传记iam Prescott were a few of the great minds and spirits among whom Longfellow took his place as a singer and as a representative of America.




The first Longfellow came to America in 1676 from Yorkshire, England. Among the ancestors of the poet on his mother's side were John and Priscilla Alden, of whom he wrote in 'The Courtship of Miles Standish'. His mother's father, Peleg Wadsworth, had been a general in the Revolutionary War. His own father was a lawyer. The Longfellow home represented the graceful living which was beginning to characterize the age.


1676年,朗费罗家族从英国的约克郡首次踏上美洲土地。在朗费罗的诗人祖先中,第一个诗人是他母亲一支的约翰·奥尔登和普里西拉·奥尔登,他们的事迹在朗费罗的《迈尔斯·斯坦迪什王朝》一诗中有所叙述。朗费罗的外祖父皮来格·沃德沃斯(Peleg Wadsworth),是位独立战争中的将军。朗费罗的父亲则是一位律师。朗费罗的家族声名显赫,从一开始就在这个时代颇具代表性。


Henry was the son of Stephen Longfellow and Zilpah Wadsworth Longfellow. He was born February 27, 1807, in Portland, Maine. Portland was a seaport, and this gave its citizens a breadth of view lacking in the more insular New England towns. The variety of people and the activity of the harbors stirred the mind of the boy and gave him a curiosity about life beyond his own immediate experience. He was sent to school when he was only three years old. When he was six, the following report of him was received at home:"Master Henry Longfellow is one of the best boys we have in school. He spells and reads very well. He can also add and multiply numbers. His conduct last quarter was very correct and amiable."




From the beginning, it was evident that this boy was to be drawn to writing and the sound of words. His mother read aloud to him and his brothers and sisters the high romance of Ossian, the legendary Gaelic hero. Cervantes' 'Don Quixote' was a favorite among the books he read. But the book which influenced him most was Washington Irving's 'Sketch Book'. Irving was another American author for whom the native legend and landscape were sources of inspiration.




"Every reader has his first book," wrote Longfellow later. "I mean to say, one book among all others which in early youth first fascinates his imagination, and at once excites and satisfies the desires of his mind. To me, the first book was the 'Sketch Book' of Washington Irving."




Longfellow's father was eager to have his son become a lawyer. But when Henry was a senior at Bowdoin College at 19, the college established a chair of modern languages. The recent graduate was asked to become the first professor, with the understanding that he should be given a period of time in which to travel and study in Europe.




In May of 1826, the fair-haired youth with the azure blue eyes set out for Europe to turn himself into a scholar and a linguist. He had letters of introduction to men of note in England and France, but he had his own idea of how to travel. Between conferences with important people and courses in the universities, Longfellow walked through the countries. He stopped at small inns and cottages, talking to peasants, farmers, traders, his silver flute in his pocket as a passport to friendship. He travelled in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and England, and returned to America in 1829. At 22, he was launched into his career as a college professor. He had to prepare his own texts, because at that time none were available.




Much tribute is due him as a teacher. Just as he served America in making the world conscious of its legend and tradition, so he opened to his students and to the American people the literary heritage of Europe. He created in them the new consciousness of the literature of Spain, France, Italy, and especially writings from the German, Nordic, and Icelandic cultures.




In 1831, he married Mary Storer Potter, whom he had known as a schoolmate. When he saw her at church upon his return to Portland, he was so struck by her beauty that he followed her home without courage enough to speak to her. With his wife, he settled down in a house surrounded by elm trees. He expended his energies on translations from Old World literature and contributed travel sketches to the New England Magazine, in addition to serving as a professor and a librarian at Bowdoin.


1831年,朗费罗与他的校友玛丽·斯图尔·波特(Mary Storer Potter)结了婚。朗费罗在他回到波特兰后在教堂里遇上了她,她的美丽让朗费罗一见倾心,尾随着她到家却不敢对她开口讲话。朗费罗和妻子在一个榆树环绕的房子里定居下来,潜心翻译旧世界(指欧洲——译注)文学,并为《新英格兰杂志》撰稿,另外还在鲍德温担负着教授和图书馆员的工作。


In 1834, he was appointed to a professorship at Harvard and once more set out for Europe by way of preparation. This time his young wife accompanied him. The journey ended in tragedy. In Rotterdam, his wife died, and Longfellow came alone to Cambridge and the new professorship. The lonely [Longfellow] took a room at historic Craigie House, an old house overlooking the Charles River. It was owned by Mrs. Craigie, an eccentric woman who kept much to herself and was somewhat scornful of the young men to whom she let rooms. But she read widely and well, and her library contained complete sets of Voltaire and other French masters. Longfellow entered the beautiful old elm-encircled house as a lodger, not knowing that this was to be his home for the rest of his life. In time, it passed into the possession of Nathan Appleton. Seven years after he came to Cambridge, Longfellow married Frances Appleton, daughter of Nathan Appleton, and Craigie House was given to the Longfellows as a wedding gift.


1834年,他被任命为哈佛大学的教授,作好准备后再次出国到欧洲。这一次,他的年轻的妻子随他一同前往。然而,这次旅行却以悲剧结束。在鹿特丹,他的妻子去世了,朗费罗孑然一身来到剑桥美国李白式诗人朗费罗(Henry <wbr>Wadsworth <wbr>Longfellow)传记,在那儿担任了教授。孤独的朗费罗在克雷杰府上借住下来。克雷杰府是一个旧家大院,从那儿可以俯视查尔斯河,它的主人是克雷杰夫人。她是一位古怪的人,相当自私,对借住她房子的年轻人有点轻视。不过,克雷杰夫人博学多闻,她的图书室里收藏了伏尔泰及其他法国大师的全集。朗费罗以寄宿者的身份住进了这座老榆树环绕的漂亮的旧家大院,从没想到这里会成为他的后生归宿。不久,奈桑·阿普尔顿继承了这座府邸,在朗费罗来到剑桥七年之后,他娶了奈桑·阿普尔顿的女儿弗朗西丝·阿普尔顿,克雷杰府作为结婚礼物送给了朗费罗夫妇。



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