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the collection, "Voices of the Night." At graduation he ranked fourth in a class of thirty-eight. To him was assigned the English oration, the one of the commencement parts that carried with it the greatest distinction.
Even before graduation he had attracted notice as a graceful and promising scholar. Consequently, when the trustees of Bowdoin were to select a professor for the recently established chair of modern languages, their eyes fell upon the young poet. He had, however, received no training that made him fully qualified to fill the position; and they appointed him with the understanding that he was to spend some time in Europe to prepare for the work.
Accordingly, in 1826 he set sail for Europe, and visited France, Spain, Italy, and Germany. During his stay in Europe he bent himself assiduously to the task of mastering foreign languages and of studying their literatures. The only writing attempted while on this trip was a series of sketches in prose, consisting of impressions jotted down. on his travels. These were brought out in a little volume in 1835, under the title of "Outre-Mer; a Pilgrimage beyond the Sea."
In 1829 he came back to America, and entered upon his duties as teacher. He became devoted to his work at once. In the interest of his department he prepared a French grammar and edited some French and Spanish texts.
At Bowdoin he continued till 1834, when, through the resignation of Professor Ticknor, the chair of modern languages at Harvard became vacant. Longfellow was reconmended for the position, and received a call to succeed Ticknor. According to the stipulations of the call he was
to be granted leave of absence for a year or eighteen months, to be spent in Europe "for the more perfect attainment of German."
His second European trip, on which he started in 1835, took him to northern Europe. He spent the summer of 1835 in Stockholm, Sweden, where he at once began to study Swedish and also Finnish. While here he studied the literature of the country, and it is said that "Swedish poetry exercised upon him an influence not to be shaken off." On this trip he visited Switzerland, but spent most of his time at Heidelberg, Germany, where he devoted his time to the study of German literature.
In 1836 he began his work at Harvard. Though he gave his time and energy faithfully to his duties, he disliked the work of teaching, on account of the time it took from those pursuits in authorship which he felt to be his chief work.
In 1854 he resigned his position at Harvard, and was succeeded by James Russell Lowell. The Smith Professorship of Modern Languages at Harvard, which was held by . these three men,-Ticknor, Longfellow, and Lowell,-accomplished the gigantic task of bringing American scholarship in the modern tongues and literatures up to a rank equal with that long held in the classics. Since the death of Lowell (1891) this professorship has remained vacant.
After 1854 he continued to live at the old historic Craigie House; and now that he enjoyed freedom from lecturing and from supervising assistants, he gave his time entirely to authorship. He made two more trips to Europe, in 1842 and in 1868. His last years were as busy as
those of his youth, so that up to the time of his death, in 1882, he continued to bring out successive volumes of
Among his chief works may be mentioned the following: "Voices of the Night" and "Hyperion," brought out in 1839; "Ballads and Other Poems," 1841. In 1845 appeared "Poets and Poetry of Europe," a collection of translations from the principal European languages. Evangeline" was brought out in 1847, while the poet was in the midst of his duties as teacher at Harvard. "Hiawatha" was published in 1855; "Birds of Passage" and "The Courtship of Miles Standish," in 1858; "Tales of a Wayside Inn" in 1863, and "The Divine Tragedy" in 1871.
Among these works, some, indeed, bear close traces of European influence and inspiration, but taken as a whole they are the pride of our national American literature. Longfellow was a versatile writer. He wrote prose and poetry, made translations and adaptations, wrote stirring ballads, lyrics of sentiment and reflection, idyls, epics, and dramas. In respect to form, he made a success of meters that up to his time had very seldom been attempted in English. His poems appeal straight to the heart and to the best impulses in the human soul, so that he has justly earned the distinction of being "America's most beloved poet."
SUGGESTIONS FOR STUDY.
The first principle according to the plan of study as here conceived, is to let the purpose and spirit of the masterpiece determine how it is to be treated in the class-room. This presupposes, at least on the part of the teacher, a ready responsiveness to the best elements in thought and form that the selection contains, an attitude certainly essential to the best results. Again, if the teacher has this kind of sympathetic appreciation of its value, he will be on his guard against allowing himself and his class to manipulate it as material merely for secondary purposes, no matter how useful these may be. He will find that the quickening thoughts and sentiments of a masterpiece, its truths and beauties, its form, its spirit as an organism, will insistently claim all the time, and more than he can give to it.
In regard to details of method, all that can usually be done in the class-room may be grouped under three heads:
INTERPRETATION is such a process of dealing with a selection as leads the pupil to a clear realization of the thought and message the author intended to convey. Obscurities of whatever kind are cleared up-such as difficulties in language and construction; so also those references and allusions that tend to obstruct the way. The pupil is led to take cognizance of the hints and suggestions given, in order that every thought, sentiment, scene, character, and situation may be realized in its completeness and fullness. Then, instead of dealing with the matter pre
sented as mere shadowy conceptions, he will re-live it as a vitalizing experience, thereby instituting a true organic connection between the new truths and beauties and those already assimilated.
At this stage the process will be largely analytic. So far as time allows, each thought is closely followed up, and each suggestion worked out. Here it is of importance to shape the work for the pupil in such a way that it becomes definite and manageable. The teacher should, in fact, see to it that the work is cast into a form which, by its suggestiveness, furnishes a point of approach, calls for, and, so to say, invites the best efforts of the pupil. Again, the issue must not be something microscopic, thin, or fanciful; it must always have a vital relation to the central idea, and must always be something worth while.
The readiest way, as it seems to the editor, of bringing the essential part of the work before the pupils in this manageable form is by means of a series of questions suggestively framed and consistently and logically correlated. These should be before the pupils while they prepare the portion of the text assigned as the lesson. The answers, to a part of these at least, should be written and handed in before the recitation begins.
APPRECIATION is such further study of a masterpiece in its larger units as will lead to definite and ordered impressions of it as a whole. This does not necessarily call for a certain number of readings and re-readings. Though a fair amount of time should be allowed if thorough work is to be done, yet good results may be reached even by working through it once. In such cases the teacher and his class may stop at the natural divisions to gather up the