A fine correspondence from the period of Longfellow's greatest fame, reflecting his personal life, as well as his multitudinous poetical and scholarly pursuits. Ferguson was an English writer and businessman who knew the Longfellow family well. Among the many writing projects the two discussed was Longfellow's noted translation of Dante's Divine Comedy. When the work was published, Longfellow modestly wrote Ferguson that "The only merit of my book is that it is exactly what Dante says, and not what the undersigned imagines he might have said if he had been an Englishman."
Longfellow also discusses domestic life at Craigie House, noting "the household goes on as usual. The morning in the study, and the evening in the library. Like the Vicar of Wakefield's, all my adventures are by the fire-side, and all my migrations from the blue bed to the brown." The poet offers a succinct and appealing summary of his daily life: "I read and write and pay my taxes; and that is about the whole of it." Throughout the letters, Longfellow references many contemporaries, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and Agassiz.
Edith Longfellow's candid letters also provide insights to her father's character and habits, as well as discussing her own reading and education. She also mentions "a base-ball match between the 'Harvards' of Cambridge and the 'Lowells' of Boston. ... It is the great college game."
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