PUBLIC POET, PRIVATE MAN -
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW AT 200
BY CHRISTOPH IRMSCHER
This book offers an extended commentary on the artifacts collected in the exhibition "Public Poet, Private Man" that was on display from January to April 2007 at Houghton Library, Harvard University. Each of the eight chapters corresponds to one of the eight display cases and provides a narrative that added depth and context to the objects that were included in the exhibit. The primary objective of "Public Poet, Private Man" is to honor, on the bicentennial of his birth, a poet who was both immensely cosmopolitan and deeply rooted in the New England region. It paints a portrait of Longfellow as a professional author, devoted friend and family man. This book can also be read as a loosely constructed introduction to America's most popular poet and the world that shaped him and that he, in turn, helped to shape.